Check out new tracks in the sidebar under “Music”:
Wild Mountain Thyme
Check out new tracks in the sidebar under “Music”:
Wild Mountain Thyme
2012 has easily been the most eventful year of my life not only in personal achievements but in sporting achievements also. And when I say sporting achievements, I’m not talking about Olympic medals or world records, I’m talking about something MUCH more than that…personal goals. You see you can be first in a race and be disappointed because you didn’t meet YOUR goal and similarly you can be 50th and be absolutely delighted because that personal goal, that milestone of achievement that you have worked so hard for has finally been met.
So 2012. I had been searching for that sub 40minute 10k for some time and who would believe I would achieve it on the first leg of a Duathlon: 39:45. A couple weeks later running a 10k alone back home, on a hilly course I achieved it again in 39:09. Absolutely delighted. Milestone reached. Now onto attaining that sub-38….
Completed my first half marathon in June in Ventura, CA. Aimed for 1:30 but hoping for sub 1:35….achieved 1:26:45. DELIGHTED. Now to get that 1:25:00.
Completed my first half Ironman Triathlon. Time goal was for between 4:45-5:15. Achieved in 5:01. AMAZED and so delighted with result despite also getting heat stroke during the race and spending a considerable amount of time in the medical tent…
So why, when I started the year so well and so positively, have I finished the year with less than impressive results.
9/9/12 70.3 Triathlon: 5:38
17/11/12 10k race: 41:10
2/12/12 Half marathon: 1:37:54
Now each of these last three events may have indeed have had their own individual difficulties (HEAT, long hill, 40mph winds respectively) but still, after starting the year so well, I only feel like I’ve gone backwards and let myself down.
I know there are potentially many reasons for this and I know there is a lot I can do myself to fix issues I have had….still disappointing nonetheless.
So where from here. Well, right now I am looking to put one of the LONGEST seasons behind me (first potential reason for shitty recent results), and look forward to base training and easing off from high intensity training (second reason). I look forward to sleeping more (third reason) and eating a healthier, more nutritious diet (fourth reason), having recently switched to a dairy free (choice) in addition to Gluten free (medical) diet.
To end 2012 with some words of wisdom…founded from stupidity and experience….
So as I write these ‘wise words’ I realise how late it is at night and that I must sleep. I hope this finds each of you in a better place at the end of 2012, or are you, like me, looking forward to a fresh start in 2013?
Goodnight America and Good morning Scotland
Pro Triathlete in the making…someday…
This is a post to let you know I have changed the address of the blog to:
Please follow my blog or update this in your bookmarks if you have it there 🙂
Have been off the radar a little from everyone, everywhere and everything so apologies for that but I have had some time to recoup, regroup and regenerate… all positive steps!
On September 9th 2012, I competed at the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas, my (now) home turf. A new distance to me this year and one I only started training for in May, when I moved to Las Vegas and signed up for the 70.3 Wisconsin.
Rewind back one year…. I was sitting with my coach, Ken Bryson, discussing goals for 2012. I believe my goals were:
Now I did qualify for the World Duathlon Championships in Nice, back in March but Triathlon was still my focus and qualifying for World Triathlon Championships. Albeit I was still at this point thinking of the Age Group Olympic distance – 1500m Swim/42km Bike/ 10km Run – but with the move to the USA I was unable to race at any qualifying events. So, after moving here I signed up for half ironman to see if i could somehow qualify for Worlds, knowing the half ironman championships were in Vegas. With a great swim and bike leg, and half decent run considering I heat stroke, I managed to qualify for the World Championships- GOAL ATTAINED.
Now fast forward back to the 9th September….
The day was hot by the time the sun was rising and I was wave number 15 starting at 7:50am. The weather forecast had said it would be cloudy and a cool 80-ish degrees Fahrenheit. Of course this was too good to be true…there was not a cloud in the sky and the temp was closer to 100degrees if not higher at times. The race began as a deep water start with over 100 of us treading water over the starting line.
And we’re off! At least 5 hits to the face, a couple kicks and a few gulps of severely questionable water and I completed the 1900m swim through Lake Las Vegas. The swim for me is my weakest aspect of the Triathlon and I just focus on getting through it so I can really begin my race! True to form I came out of the swim quite far down the field but exited the water to transition and had a reasonably slick transition. I headed out onto the bike to grind through the 56miles of desert in the scorching heat. My nutrition here was almost spot on; I alternated with one bottle of electrolytes then one bottle of water, consuming approximately 5-6 bottles throughout the bike course. I had my EFS gel bottle which I consumed throughout the bike also – this was a brilliant find brought to me by Lelani at Pro Cyclery. Unfortunately I had a couple hiccups on the bike…. I vomited a couple times (probably the questionable water) and also received a yellow card, I presume for drafting. This is something I don’t agree with as I was overtaking up a hill at the time but you can’t argue with the ref and you’re just as well taking the hit and getting on with the race and just hope that the people that really ARE drafting also get penalised! And breathe… Anyway, I reached T2 and passed my bike to one of the volunteers before running through to pick up my run kit – the organisation at this event was truly amazing, and even more amazing were the hundreds of volunteers who were out supporting us throughout the day! I spent a couple minutes in the transition tent putting on my shoes, getting lathered in sunscreen and drinking an ice cold water before heading out into the unforgiving heat. The run course was a gruelling 3 lap course consisting basically of 2 and a bit miles uphill and 2 and a bit miles downhill… in the unrelenting heat… By this point I was feeling the exhaustion of the heat starting to take over. This is a strange feeling because my legs felt ok but my body was suffering. The race became a case of getting from one aid station to the next. The focus was simply to finish. Sometimes you have days when you know you’re on for a PB/PR but that day it was simply about crossing that line. Something that was really special for me was having so much personal support on the race course. My running team mates from Ninja Endurance Racing, my Sponsors from Pro Cyclery and my friends from Work at Healthsouth plus other friends that I have met through cycling, running etc since I have moved here. On reflection this really was all I needed. I had achieved my goal of qualifying but more than that I had successfully started a new life in a foreign country, a move that was scary and full of unknowns but I really feel lucky to have met and become friends with all these people. These people cheered me on through the 13.1 mile run and handed me the Scottish flag so I could fly it home over the finishing line. Running down towards the finishing line, I sported the biggest smile because I knew how much I had achieved, how far I had gone, just to cross that line. Not just on the 9th September but over the past few months. This was a mental and physical battle of will, heart and determination. And I did it. So this is a thank you to everyone who helped me to cross that line.
Post race I had a bit of post race/post season blues. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about the race or think about running or cycling or swimming or training of any kind. I had alot of personal and emotional issues built up from the preceding months and the stress of moving, starting a new job, training for such a big event hit me hard. I escaped with a couple friends away to the beach and it was just the therapy and getaway I needed. Floating effortlessly in the Pacific ocean with the water covering your ears so you can’t hear a thing, feeling the water just soothe your troubles away is something that everyone should experience just once. I took another week after that to chill out with little to no training involved at all. Trying to figure out what and where I wanted to go from there. And now, this week (now Tuesday) I feel I am on my way towards new goals, a new season (after a productive and smart off season of course) and hopefully some better times ahead.
So, Im back to training, yoga and eating healthily/sensibly and trying to sleep more – still working on this!!! But the long term goals are still there – Professional Triathlete, and World Champion. Might not be this year or next year but one year I will be 🙂 so watch this space…
As I have been out the loop please feel free to leave comments and tell me what inspires YOU, what YOUR long term goals and dreams may be?
For now, Goodnight
When I first decided to accept the job over here in America, I was excited. Excited to begin a new life and start my career in the profession I had worked so hard to get in to. I never really fully considered the emotional upheaval of moving half way across the world, away from family and friends and everything you once knew. One of the first friends I met over here was Niamh, an Irish Occupational Therapist, recruited by the same company as myself. She warned me of the 3 month slump of home sickness and the importance of taking a trip away very three months or so. I must admit at the time my naivety and hard-headedness believed that I was stronger than that. After all, I’ve grown up priding myself on my independence and ability to overcome obstacles to get to where I want to be. Home-sickness…paah!
How wrong I could be! So much has happened since I arrived here let alone in the past couple weeks and at this time I truly don’t ever think Ive felt so alone. Today, whilst treating a patient who was quite agitated, I found myself humming and then singing ‘Caledonia‘ softly, initially thinking this was for the patients benefit, to help them relax. I later realised this was more as a comfort to me. Music and Sports have always been my emotional release. If I was stressed or upset, I’d spend hours at the piano at my Mum’s house, singing and playing often the same songs over and over and often late into the night. The same with exercise, if I was stressed or angry I could sweat it out on the treadmill or tarmac. After a bike crash last week that left me feeling very fortunate to be alive but also achey and sore, I haven’t been able to train as well as I’d have hoped. And with no piano or guitar, I’ve struggled to find that same release in music. Instead, Im left having to face the emotion alone, bare-faced and vulnerable.
I know that I’ll be fine, or at least I know I have to be. I wouldn’t wish things were different because I know this is all just a part of the journey.
I have taken a different view recently to how I cope with things. For any one that knows me, knows that I always have too much on my plate and constantly rush around like a stressed out crazy lady. Well, that’s not healthy. I am starting to realise that sleep and rest are just as important as the training. Instead of pushing through injuries, listen to your body and be kind to it. Love yourself….this one I find difficult and haven’t yet mastered but I’m working on it.
Good things are happening and I am looking forward to what the next few months will bring. This doesn’t stop the home-sickness or loneliness but it helps me to remember to man the hell up and know that family and friends will always be there, even if they live on the other side of the world!
I will hopefully be able to post some exciting update re: sponsorship and training this weekend, so until then Goodnight and enjoy the rest of your week.
Apologies for delay in getting this out but I am still recovering – although almost there – from heat stroke during Sunday’s race. This is a copy of the race report I sent to my coach Ken Bryson, to whom I am grateful for his coaching, advice, experience and knowledge. I will update with a more ‘newsy’ post once I feel 100%. Thank you to everyone who supported me through Sunday’s race.
70.3 Ironman, Racine, WI, USA, 15th July 2012
As my first event at half ironman distance I had a lot of apprehension leading up to the race, however on race morning I was pretty calm. My bike was racked from night before so I set out my transition area, with a couple of new additions for me – a gallon bottle of water and a large bottle of gatorade. I attached 3 gels to my bike, opened an energy bar and placed it in my shoe ready to pull out and put in back pocket for the bike, and left a banana there too.
It was a mile walk to the swim start so after vacating transition by 6.45am, I took my time and then walked to the start in a pair of socks that I could just ditch when I got there. Wetsuit on, I was wave number 15 so I got into the water beside the start and got used to the water temp – it was perfect! Once into the corral ready to go I still was quite calm – almost too calm I thought – but nevertheless as the gun went off we ran down into the water to begin the 1.2mile swim. Usually this is the part I fail at miserably but I really enjoyed the swim here – the buoys were easy to follow, the water was calm and I was always with people, able to draft or pass as necessary. In 31:50 I had completed the swim and was running up the beach towards transition. In transition I was fast, methodical and calm. I took time to make sure I picked up the bar and had a quick drink of the gatorade.
Onto the bike course I was able to advance through the other athletes comfortably. The course itself was relatively flat with some ‘rolling’ hills, however the road surface was less welcoming. I don’t know why the roads are like this here but especially in residential areas there is often a break in the tarmac around every 5-10metres – and some bigger than others. As I had cycled 6miles of the course the day before I knew what to expect and had ensured all bolts/screws on bike were tightened! However, the straw in my aero bottle would inch up every ‘dunt’ I cycled over.
About 5miles in I caught up to and passed a girl in a purple top. She then passed me a mile ahead and I passed her again. This ‘yo-yo-ing’ continued for a good 10miles but after cycling so close together I accepted that we were about the same speed and not wanting to get accused of drafting I sat back and kept her in my sights. This worked initially but then as we were overtaking people I lost her up ahead and with that my concentration went. For about 5-10miles I peddled comfortably, until I realised what I was doing and reminded myself that I was in a RACE!!! With the foot back on the gas I began to overtake again but this time with more drive and determination. I think I must have taken on at least 3litres of water on the bike course overall. 750ml of that was mixed with electrolyte tab but I was soon to find out that that was not enough. After shaking off a couple drafters, I passed the 50mile marker feeling strong! With 0.5miles to go, I undid my bike shoes, placed my feet on top of the shoes and got ready for T2.
In T2 I poured some of that water over my head and took a second to wipe the sweat off my face. Unfortunately I was later to find out that that also wiped off whatever sunscreen I had left on my face! I took a bite of the banana and another sip of gatorade and headed out with gel bottle in hand. On exiting transition a volunteer slapped some sunscreen on my shoulders – a little too late I feared but no harm! My legs were jelly but I soon got into a steady rhythm. However it was HOT! I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and so made sure to take on water, cola, ice chips and an orange quarter at each water station. The people of Racine were out in their gardens, and most of them with hoses, hosing people down as they passed! Amazing support on the run course!! Unfortunately though, I was starting to develop heat stroke. I tried to cool myself down at each station, but was burning inside. Then I got the shivers and goosebumps. Getting the chills when you are super hot is not a good sign. I was also starting to become disoriented and struggling to keep any sort of focus. By this point, all I wanted to do was finish. When I turned at the half way point I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere close to my goal run time of 1:30 but I really was getting into a desperate sort of shape. Trying to focus the race just become a ‘one foot in front of the other’ affair. The second lap seemed a lot longer than the first but eventually I came closer to the finish. Hearing the commentator and then finally seeing that finish line. I was able to pick up the pace for the last 200m- I always wonder where that final burst comes from – and crossed the finish line in 5:01:50. After I crossed the line I could no longer hold myself up. I felt like I had a ton of weight on my chest and couldn’t feel my hands or feet. I was taken to the medical tent where they worked to cool me down and fed me gatorade and cola. Luckily I didn’t have to be put on an IV although I think that might have been a quicker way to hydrate! After 45mins of lying covered in Ice and being sprayed down I was starting to feel a little better. After a stint of sitting up and losing circulation to my hands and feet again, I lay for another 15mins or so, and then exited the tent after thanking the nursing/medical staff.
I placed 3rd in my age category, 16th Female overall (including the Pro’s) and 144 Overall. As it turns out, that girl in the purple top placed 1st in my age category. Valuable lesson learnt with regards to keeping focus and having the confidence to ride at a stronger pace if you feel you can! For my first 70.3 IM I am happy with this result as I really learned a lot and gained valuable experience which will help me in my next event. Subsequently, after waiting all day, I managed to gain a roll-down slot for the 70.3 IM World Champs, in Las Vegas 9th September 2012….so one week to recover then I can start preparing for that. I really could not have achieved this result or felt so calm and prepared without Coach Ken Bryson’s training plan, coaching, advice and support.
Pre-race: Bowl of cereal with skimmed milk 3hours before race
Gatorade x 100ml before race start
Bike: Powerbar energy bar (threw up most of it almost immediately)
4 x high5 energy gel
1 x 750ml Water plus electrolyte
2 x 750ml Water only
1 x 500ml Water/Gatorade
Run: 3 x energy gel into gel bottle (big mistake as it didnt close right and I lost alot of the gel so probably only had one gel!)
Aid Stations: Cola, water, ice, Orange segments
Post race: Cola, Trumoo lowfat chocolate milk, orange, carrots, water
Post race meal: Grilled Walleye with vegetables and Sand dollars, and a Reece’s peanut butter McFlurry to finish 😉
A post dedicated to Mantra’s; that thing you say over and over to yourself when you need to find that extra oomph…
“Go Hard or Go Home“……no point in showing up for a half-assed attempt
“What would Chrissie do?“…… DOMINATE
“Swim in your own lane“….avoid the psyche out and focus on your OWN race
“Pain is temporary, Pride is Forever“…..suck it up and give it your all
“No Day but Today”……forget about yesterday, tomorrow, next week, etc, it’s about the right now!!!
“Never EVER quit”….just no
“1…2…1…2…” get into the rhythm
“One step at a time”…..that’s all it takes….
Please share YOUR race mantra ❤
I know from the word go that this will be my most controversial blog, but nevertheless here I go.
As a triathlete and runner, I am constantly thinking about fuel…. energy…. recovery…. I train up to 13hours per week, mostly intense cardiovascular exercise, pushing myself to the limit time and time again. I make sure to take in protein post exercise to aid recovery. I know to take on board carbohydrates when I feel myself ‘dipping’ into the “empty” zone, and I know that a little bit of fat is good for you.
Then why is it, when I look in the mirror, all I can see is ‘the fat triathlete’?
Last year, I lost a stone in weight. I felt faster, fitter, leaner, hotter….better than I’ve ever felt, but my word it was difficult. I ate a very bland diet, often skipping meals entirely, or having just some boiled broccoli for dinner. I somehow managed to fend off my cravings for chocolate, cakes and treats and resist late night snacks, all for the goal of achieving that lean athletic figure. I miss that Lisa. She had will power.
It’s crazy, because I have so much mental focus in other aspects of my life. My training is 100% focussed. My career has never been more on focus. So why can’t I keep this part together?
Since moving to the States, I know I’ve put back on that weight, hopefully not a stone, but not far off I don’t think. A number of factors contributed to this: living in a hotel and eating out a lot, astronomical portion sizes, hidden calories (I now realise that ‘healthy’ in the US is maybe not the same ‘healthy’ Im used to in the UK), loneliness, stress, fatigue……comfort eating.
I don’t want to hear the “but you’re not fat” or the “it’s just the transition” or “Lisa, you need the fuel and calories” because for anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror and hated what they saw, the last thing they want is someones opinion. They want change, they want a difference, they want to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see. This is a subject I do not like to talk about… image. And the main reason I feel I can talk about it on here is that this is a faceless diary if you will. The other reason is that, if I, as a semi-pro athlete (I have won money in some races so can probably say semi-pro?), who exercises several hours per week, eats healthily, is not classed as ‘overweight’ according to BMI or body fat percentage figures, feel this way about weight, image and food, how many others do?
Just yesterday, I read an article about how Jessica Ennis was said to be carrying excess weight – I mean that’s ridiculous – and Triathlete Hollie Avil, suffered an eating disorder after feeling pressure from coaches to lose excess weight. This doesn’t make me feel any better about myself, my image or my weight, but at least I know I’m not alone. And as I said before, I DO NOT want to have any sympathy comments relating to this posts, or worried/concerned comments because I will not be satisfied or happy until I am returned to, or have achieved a leaner, athletic figure.
I am disappointed with myself, because I will now go into the 70.3 Ironman, my debut at this distance, as ‘the fat triathlete’ and have nobody to blame but myself. Who knows, this may work to my advantage as no-one ever expects the underdog, or underpig as I feel just now, to come out on top, so maybe I’ll surprise them and myself.
I will however, be vigilant in my diet of lean meat, vegetables and WATER (and coffee), eating enough to fuel and no more.
I wish there were a magic wand, or a secret exercise plan to achieve my goal but the bottom line is that its simply hard work and WILL POWER. Careful diet AND exercise are what will achieve your ideal physique, not one without the other.
So, before you judge me or pity me or whatever your views on this post may be, please take a moment to respect that how you feel inside is (how I feel inside) cannot be changed by ANYONE BUT ME.
I will get there, it’ll just take some more blood, sweat and tears.
Well, I don’t have a guitar or piano right now but have been playing around with garage band and also figuring out how to be all technical with the computer side of things and have managed to add a new track 🙂 please don’t be offended as its not nearly as poetic as the original, but just wanted to share.
Sometimes in your life, you have to take a BIG step back and re-assess the situation. Whether this be to re-jig your game plan at work or in training, re-evaluate your goals, or simply to breathe and take a big sigh……Aaaahhh.
I say this because last night and this morning, I have been hit with overwhelming fatigue. Last night I couldn’t even stay awake to eat and had to sleep for a couple hours then get up again for dinner. This morning I naively got up at 5am thinking I’d be fine, but with swollen glands, blurry eyes and this overwhelming tiredness I stopped. I reassessed the situation as follows:
What I have to do: 3hours bike, 30mins run fast off bike
How do I feel: Exhausted, on the brink of illness,
How will I feel if I don’t train: Terrible, guilty, but I might recover easier?
Compromise: 2 more hours in bed to sleep + actually eat breakfast and let it settle before heading out + be prepared to shorten bike if heat outside gets too much.
Result: Session achieved and compromised.
I think the main factor in all this is COMPROMISE. So Im sitting here now, letting breakfast settle and mentally preparing for the session. I know it’ll be close to 100degrees fahrenheit by the time I get to the run but I just make sure I accommodate and prepare for that.
So aside from this mornings episode, this overwhelming fatigue has been building up for a couple weeks now, certainly a wake-up call… or go to sleep call I should really say! I hope other people find it difficult too though, juggling full-time career, 12hour of training, eating, sleeping, other monotonous errands that accompany moving half way across the world and into a completely new environment, and its not just me?!
This week i bought ‘Racing Weight: How to get Lean for Peak Performance’…..probably too late for this race but will let you know if its worth a read. I have found it difficult to follow ordinary diet plans or fads due to the volume and intensity of my training but I think its going to really come down to how you actually manage your hunger.
ANYWAY BORING BITS ASIDE!!!!
Last weekend I travelled to Ventura, California for my first out of state event and first ever half marathon. Not to sound too much like an annoying triathlete off the youtube video “S*** Triathletes say” (if you haven’t seen this and know a couple triathletes or cyclists, you should watch this, its pretty accurate), but I really was looking at this like a training run, in preparation for HIM (Half IronMan). Because there is a half marathon at the end AFTER the bike and swim, I wanted to make sure I knew what the distance felt like, that I knew I could hold a steady pace for and so I knew what to prepare for mentally. I wanted to aim for AROUND the 1:30:00 mark, but because it was a new experience I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I didn’t manage that. The race itself was great; the sea breeze and humidity was delicious and a welcome change from the dry desert heat. I followed my fellow Ninja’s advice: keep it steady for miles 0-4, push on miles 7-10 and then I actually can’t remember what the instruction was after that….maybe just finish?? Oh dear I must listen better and remember better next time… So anyway I did that, and then picked up the pace slightly with 1mile to go. My team-mate Priscilla who was running the 5k, joined me with around 800m to go, and helped coax me in through the final stretch to finish in a time of 1:27:45 and place 1st Female finisher overall! DELIGHTED!!!
After a huge bowl of GF pasta in Santa Barbara (which I must say is a beautiful town and will have to go back!!!) we drove back to Las Vegas, stopping only once for a milkshake and fries. On sunday, the effects of sitting in a car for a number of hours after running a half marathon were less than welcome, so a day chilling out by the pool was on the cards.
Another experience this week was swimming at Lake Mead. I met fellow ninja but no relation, Amy Leonard at the lake, and she had already swam so I started out putting on my wetsuit so I could also practice this for HIM. I had to cut our conversation short however and get into the water….imagine standing in a full sleeved and legged neoprene wetsuit, in direct sunlight in 100+degree heat…..I actually thought I was melting, like physically melting away! However swim was good apart from the gradually setting sun blinding me on each turn; no fish to be seen and no dead bodies as suggested by many folks probably trying to scare me but nonetheless achieving said scare mongering!
So after a hard working week and a hard training week, of which I still have 5hours of training left and I have to work tomorrow also 😦 I have re-assessed the situation and created new goals…bed by 9.30pm especially if I am up at 5am for training, and stay on top of timing for nutrition!!!
So for now, I am off to wash dishes, train, run some errands then head to the Ninja BBQ/gathering this afternoon to RELAX. Bed by 10pm maybe as I won’t be up at 5am tomorrow 🙂
To all my Scottish friends and family, I mis you very much, special shout to Laura Sarkis who is nearly finished the Celtman!!! And to Rhea and Ryan who have their engagement party this weekend!
Love, Lisa x