Category Archives: competition

Being Watched

On Saturday I completed my first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon. It was an absolutely brilliant day, full of lots of ‘firsts’. First race Olympic distance race. First race in open water. First time competing in a trisuit and first time racing in my fabulous golden visor. But there was also a significant first for me. It was the first time my two children, ages 5 and 7, had come to see me in a race.

As a teenager I raced nearly every weekend. Through the year track races would become road races and road races would soon become cross country competitions. I would have family at nearly all my races. Mum and Dad. Sometimes just Mum or Dad. Mum, Dad and brother. Occasionally extended family would come along too and it would become a massive deal. I remember cringing at being cheered on or as a female relative would loudly lavish me with praise in front of my team mates and other coaches. My nerves didn’t help either. Before a race I would become moody and irritable, snapping at anyone who tried to talk to me. I wanted to be left alone but I never was. In my own selfish, teenage way, I envied girls who were on there own, probably not even thinking that maybe they would like to have someone with them. Looking back I can see how I took my family being there very much for granted.

When I started back running after my second son was born I had accepted that I might not be able to have all the family around watching me in races. Trying to entertain a toddler and a young baby at a long event is no fun for the parent trying to support and it’s boring for the kids. I decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to force my children to come along to races to support me, especially if it was just a glimpse.

And then there are the crowds, trying to manoeuvre children on public transport, stopping them from running off, fighting and arguing. Ugh. It just wasn’t something my husband and I wanted to inflict on the family, especially when I felt like what I was doing was a little bit on the selfish side anyway. So for the races I have done since then it has just been my husband who has met me somewhere near the finish line. I don’t think I’ve even seen him on the sidelines as he’s had to fight through those crowds to try and find a good place to try and spot me while trying to get to the finish.

A few weeks ago I did a novice triathlon. It was a really early start and even though it was local I hadn’t wanted to drag the whole family out of bed to see me. I went along on my own, finished and then wandered around. I could see lots of children running along the side of the running course cheering on their mums and dads. Whats more these kids were around the same age as mine. I felt a little pang inside and started to wish that I had had someone at the end to give me a hug. I fought off the temptation to go up to one of the marshalls and hug them and went home.

On Saturday I had fully intended to go to the triathlon on my own, meet up with Team Tricurious and head back with a brief phone call to family to let them know how I had got on. My husband was away at a function with his ‘bar bus’ so the boys were with my folks. In the morning my Dad inquired a little bit as to where I would be and how long it would take. I just thought he was showing concern and some interest.

As I came out of the ExCel after my bike transition I had a huge surprise. There on my left were four people I recognised. Four of my own people. People who were there for me. I shrieked in excitement as I ran over to greet my parents who had brought the boys to see me for the very first time. They weren’t somewhere else just to meet me at the end, they were here to see me run!

My heart lifted and I tried to get more spring in my step. At the end they were waiting just beyond the finish line and they all flung their arms around me. My heart inflated even more with the love of my boys…….until they started fighting over my medal, moaning that I was too sweaty and pulling daft faces when we tried to take a nice picture. Right there the inflated heart shrank a bit as I had to go back into parental mode.

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On a serious (and soppy) note it meant a lot to see my family on Saturday. I can’t believe how happy it made me feel to see them and I am thrilled that they were able to come along. I’m glad that the boys got to see one of the events that they see me training for. They have seen that the hard work goes towards something special. I also think it’s important for young boys like mine to see that the women in their lives can be strong and determined.

Saturday was an incredible day for me for so many reasons but having the boys there really topped off a fantastic day. My teenage self obviously underestimated the power of having people there cheering you on. My 35 year old self however really appreciated having people there for me and right now being watched in all my races is something I could get used to. Until the time comes when the boys’ activities take over and I become the cringe inducing parent of teenager on the side line.

Two Wheeled Tantrum

I have been sat at the computer looking through the Velothon Wales information, having an absolute paddy. It’s bad enough that I haven’t been able to ride for the last two weeks but I’m now concerned that my legs won’t make it to one of the check points in enough time.

I’m starting at 8.40 in Cardiff. Riders have to make it to a place called Little Mill by 12.30. Little Mill is 67km out. If you haven’t made it there by the set time you get turned onto a shorter route. It is assumed that if you haven’t made it, it’s because you haven’t kept up with the 19km/hr minimum required speed.

I have been sat doing some maths. I’ve been checking my Strava rides and what my average speed is. I’ve been doing sums on the calculator, converting kilometers to miles and back again. I had hoped that I would be starting earlier but by putting me at 8.40am I feel like I’m at a massive disadvantage. And so I’ve had a bit of a tantrum. I don’t want to be beaten by the pacer car. I don’t want the marshalls to have to tell me to take the shorter route and I really don’t want to be taken back to Cardiff on the sweeper bus, I want to make it back on my bike. Broken no doubt, but on my bike.

I should also mention the bad dream I had about the Tumble in Abergavenny. In my dream I am cycling up the Tumble but never quite reaching the top of the summit. It was a never ending climb. I woke up in a bit of a sweat.

My preparation over the last two weeks has been awful. I haven’t been on my turbo or my old bike. I’ve been running and swimming. Monday I met a friend and did a new kettlebell class. I would never have tried a new class in the lead up to a marathon and yet the week before my first big sportive I choose to do something that daft. My sore legs are reminding me what an idiot I am.

Right now I am so out of my comfort zone it’s not even funny. I need to woman the f*** up and get in touch with my tougher, stubborn, inner marathoner. I will finish the 140km. I will get up the Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain. I will stay in front of the pacer car. And most of all I will enjoy the ride and the experience. First of all I need to sort the small matter of picking up my bike and then I can look forward to Sunday.

Spring Marathon Competition Klaxon!

UK Runners! People who run marathons or people who want to run a marathon! Attention!

I have been given the heads up about a pretty nifty looking competition for runners looking to do a spring marathon. As I’m doing the London Marathon and I’ve missed all the recent 26.2 project entries I thought it would be an idea to give it a go. After all you’ve got to be in it to win it! But as I’m an altruistic sort I thought I’d share the details with all the runners I know (plus they would really like to spread the word about the competition and when you read the prize you’ll be glad I did).

The competition is being run by a company called the Run Lounge. Run Lounge is a web site offering advice and training from coaches Nick and Phoebe from Running With Us. Have a look round the web site as there are some great resources if you’re looking for plans, tips or advice on things like strength and conditioning.

The 4 competition winners are being offered a prize of epic proportions. The prize includes:

  • Training for a spring marathon with coaches Nick and Phoebe from RunningWithUs (http://www.runningwithus.com)
  • A week-long all expenses paid training camp in Portugal in March with Nick and Phoebe and2:09 Events
  • £700 of Saucony kit including shoes and apparel
  • High5 Nutrition products
  • Entry and accommodation at the Cambridge half marathon
  • A UK training day

Warm weather training? Being decked out in Saucony kit? Nutrition? Training and entry to a race? It’s almost like being an elite athlete!

All you have to do is go to the Run Lounge Facebook page here. Like the page and then you can enter the competition, which is easy. Just tell them why you want to run a marathon and why you should be on the Mission Marathon team.

Go, go, go and good luck. I won’t hold it against you if you win.