Blog 16…

It seems a while since my last blog (probably because not much has happened!) but, I thought I would would write a little update on whats been going on!

I have recently been getting in some solid training which has been good because of the lack of consistency in all disciplines over christmas and the new year. I was pleased, and pretty lucky that my swimming didn’t take much of a hit despite the time away from the pool, and have seen some good improvements especially over sessions and time trials aimed around 1500m. Running is still a work in progress, and I’m still not running a full volume programme but things are going in the right direction so I can’t really complain.

In March I raced the National duathlon which turned out to be a 10km run race due to high winds… this probably wasn’t an ideal format for me as my strengths aren’t really in my running! But I finished and despite some breathing issues was pleased. This was followed by a training block though April and the BUCS sprint champs last weekend. I enjoy racing for Loughborough and it was great to be part of a team as this rarely happens in the tri world. The weather was being extremely unpredictable with thunder, lightening and torrential ran one minute followed by sunny spells the next – suppose thats what British racing is all about! The race was solid but I kept things under control as I had my first Olympic distance race the following weekend. I was pleased to pick up individual silver behind Zoe Thomas (who had an incredible bike leg!) and gold as a team with Vicky Johnston and Kim Bell.

Thursday came and it was time to head out to Madrid with David – the journey was stress free however once arriving in Madrid things didn’t stay that way! We arrived at the apartments and it was apparent something was dodgey, there was no one there and we had no idea how to get the keys. I went to a hotel two doors down and he confirmed that the apartments were in fact a scam… I was having a slight ‘flap’ at this point and yes I did have cry too! To make things worse there was a big tennis tournament on so hotels were either full or very pricey! After a lot of internet surfing we found a place to stay.

At this point I assumed that was enough drama for one trip but no, what was meant to be a simple trip to the pool ended up being an hour trek around the university campus and the site manager (who didn’t speak a word of English) escorting us off the campus – long story!

Once race day arrived so did the nerves, I was more nervous than usual, probably because it was something new and I didn’t really know what to expect! I had a solid swim and opened up a 25 second gap to the main group, I decided to take the opportunity and see how long I could stay out in front on the bike for, it lasted for 30km but when the gap got down to 20 seconds I sat up and tried to bring some life back to my legs! It took me a while to get into the run but when I did, I found myself at the front with my French team mate Jeanne – I felt real good for the first 5km but then the inevitable happened, the legs fell off and it was a long 5km home! I held on for a podium and couldn’t have given it any more, the only downside to the podium was getting marched off for drugs testing when all I wanted to do was eat ice cream and watch David and the others race. I managed to catch the end of the bike and the run. It was great to see David leading the run until a stitch hindered the last few km but he still held on for 7th and his 2nd top 10 in 2 weeks.

I’m back in Loughborough now revising for exams and training for my first WTS in London in just a fews time!

Hope everyone is enjoying the sunnier days!
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Blog 15…

I should be writing this whilst out in Spain, but I’m still England which wasn’t the plan…!

Training was going well through November and December; I had some pb swim sessions, biking was consistent and I was starting to get some solid running in.  However at the beginning of December I started getting a tightness/soreness back in my shins which I had previously suffered with and they were especially painful before my final race last year but after some time off they seemed to settle down. They were getting worse even with a reduced run volume so it was time for a scan; the MRI came back clear from all bone issues but there was some inflammation and fluid which were the culprits for the soreness.  A bit of TLC and sensible running and (touch wood) they should be all happy again!

As Uni finished for Christmas it was time to head out for a winter training camp and a chance to bank up on training to compensate for the inevitable drop in training over Christmas!  It’s safe to say that the camp was far from ideal… food poisoning saw me completely wiped out for the first two days then, just as I was getting back into training, I stupidly came off my bike on an off-camber corner and then it was game over for Soph.  Eight hours after chilling in a Spanish hospital I was told I had a nice fracture in my radius and it had to be properly casted back home. Once back on UK soil it was up to the QMC only to be told my ‘fracture’ was in fact my growth plate!  After two weeks it was still sore and the idea of a scaphoid fracture was being bounced around so it was off for another scan. This thankfully showed up no fracture but LOADS of bone bruising and a crushed surface to the scaphoid… I had a very lucky escape but it has meant no riding outside or swimming (which doesn’t seem to be making an appearance for a while yet).

Christmas and New Years’ were great though, spending them with family and close friends!  Pretty sure I consumed my body weight in mince pies over the festive period too!

I have also recently joined up with Yellow Jersey insurance to protect everything from my bikes and wheels to wetsuits and helmets, its comforting to know everything is covered (even race fees!). I would urge people to take a look (there is a link on the right!) especially as there is a months free insurance with the code JAN15!

A little mention to my friend Katie Synge, who got knocked off her bike this week – hope you have a speedy recovery, can’t wait to have you back in the bubble laughing as usual! 10903804_10152724427909160_5443636604171235088_o

Blog number 14…

It’s been a while since my last blog, so, I thought I’d write a little bit on the past few weeks. Im currently sat here, in my onesie, with a hot water bottle, snuggled up under a blanket with only my hands exposed to the cold – being the tight students we are, we refuse to have the heating on for more than 4 hours a day!

I’m fully back into training now and really enjoying it, I did find it hard work after my break, not only physically but mentally too. There was little motivation to do a 2k swim or a 45min spin, I seemed to adopt the ‘that’s not going to make me faster next year’ attitude. But after a couple of weeks, my love and motivation returned. With a couple of new girls to train with, its made sessions a lot easier. My housemate Ailbhe (or Alva as we spell it to reduce the confusion!) has been a perfect addition, 10530874_10152848028649806_7677438221281023475_nespecially on the bike, she has dragged me out the house on two occasions when it was absolutely chucking it down – I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but when we got back there was a slight sense of achievement!

Early morning swimming was by far the hardest thing to get back into, after not setting an alarm for 5.30 for a good few weeks, I couldn’t think of anything worse. To try and ease the transition from sleeping to swimming I decided to contact Lumie Lights and see if they could help me out. Fortunately they could, and I have been lucky enough to be using one now for a few weeks. I really would recommend them as not only does it mean you wake up gradually without the shock of an alarm but it also means you don’t have to blind your self when you turn a lamp on or, alternatively attempt to get dressed in the dark if you can’t face the main light!

I have also been fortunate enough to do some heat testing down at the GSK performance lab in London, for someone who hates racing in anything over about 20 degrees, I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I am happy to announce I survived the 40 minutes at 34 degrees at 70% humidity and now just waiting for the results and hopefully the magic answer as to why I’m such a poor racer in the heat!

With the season finishing a few weeks back, November saw the annual British Triathlon awards dinner – I was pleased to be nominated for an award and was looking forward to attending (especially as it was a rare occasion to throw on a dress and heels!) After half the awards and some very good food it was time announce the ‘British Triathlon female junior of the year award’. I was really chuffed when I realised it was me, I was then elated when I managed to walk up, receive the award and walk back again with out falling over…. result!

Anyway, hope everyone enjoys winter training , stays safe and layers up like an onion!   10449900_385566054932284_5524848839967338277_n

Blog number 13…

480358_10200699900491663_527330759_nSeason done, break had and tomorrow marks the start of training for 2015! This has been my 11th year competing in triathlons, I raced my first one as an 8 year old, where I couldn’t even swim 50m freestyle, biked on a mountain bike (which weighed close to 10 stone) and then ran around in one of my mum’s t-shirts! So it does seems weird 13.03.05 003that I have finally done all the children, youth and junior races and in 2015 I take the next step to becoming a fully fledged senior as I become an under 23 and have to master the art of the Olympic distance!

My last race of the season wasn’t what I wanted in terms of overall position but there were still some positives. I think people sometimes get too caught up in a finishing time or position and maybe if it’s not what they were wanting or expecting they feel as if it was a bad race or a waste of a weekend. My last race was out in Cozumel but unfortunately the couple of days into the race I wasn’t feeling 100%… probably all the Mexican food! Come race day I was determined to give my first senior world cup a good go so from the start I got my head down. The water was so warm and so clear I had to keep focused on swimming and 10321711_10152283181160728_5188780099835865493_onot on all the fish, I did and I was rewarded with the quickest swim. The bike however wasn’t quite as fun and it ended up being a roll around with 55 others and the run was even less fun than that! I was overly hot, my legs were sore, my head was pounding and I was getting stomach cramps – not ideal but I was not going to get a DNF next to my name! I finished (just) and was relieved as it meant I could finally chill out, have a break from training and a holiday!

I’m now back, enjoyed my break, caught up with Uni work and am now ready to return to training tomorrow!

Hope everyone enjoys their winter training but remember…. ‘let’s be careful out there!’

Blog number 12…

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So here I am writing this blog on the way back from Canada after what I can describe as, for me, a successful World Championships.  The trip started last Sunday when myself, Chis Perham and James Teagle (who were selected only two days before due to the cancellation of the boys race at Liverpool) traveled down to Heathrow.  After the usual airport duties the nine hour flight to Minneapolis began, I can safely say after watching nearly a whole season of Friday Night Lights and the movie Draft Day my American football knowledge has dramatically improved from nothing to basically being a right know it all!  A quick interrogation in America and then it was the shorter two hour flight to Edmonton of which I don’t recollect anything as I was asleep the whole way. 

 
Edmonton is a very big city which meant for cycling it really wasn’t great and I succumbed to just riding on the rollers.  We ran down by the river which was pleasant and swam at the local university or the very very nice pool which had two 50 metre pools next to each other as well as a diving pool. The week leading into the race I was feeling horrific, I think it was a combination of jet lag and the actual journey itself – I was waking up at 5am and having to wait for swimming, I used the time wisely though and face timed David and my mum (however trying to get my mum to work the iPad was unbelievably difficult!). The usual pre-race track session where you feel really good and running feels easy was incredibly hard work and making the normal ‘comfortable’ times at home was proving impossible and swimming was just feeling sluggish. Safe to say a couple of days out from the race I was panicking slightly, but with the work done there was nothing else I could do.1604878_745803768817651_5432816685084946042_n
 
Race morning came round quickly and with the race in the afternoon I jumped onto the rollers in the morning to wake up the legs before heading down to the race. I was doing alright nerves wise until we got down to the course and everyone starts staring each other out!  It was a wetsuit swim and since I’ve now found a suit I can swim in (Huub Aura) I’m confident in that scenario. I did my usual swim warm up and then got lined up. With my spot chosen, it was a wait for the Helen290air-horn and then time to get my head down and swim very hard! My swim was good and saw me enter transition 3rd, I wanted to make the first section of the bike hard to try and split the group which fortunately happened and a group of seven of us got clear – going into the race I said I would be satisfied with a top eight so here was a very good opportunity to make that happen.  No surprise the group didn’t really want to work but as a few girls pulled the odd turn I was prepared to pull more turns to gap the next group . We came into T2 with over a minute, a small group quickly formed but after the first kilometre theHelen306 podium trio from Europeans broke away and I knew realistically I was racing for 4th.  It was getting close towards the end with America’s Everson close behind but I held on for 4th so was over the moon with that result. 
 
I had two days between my individual race and the relay so I tried to recover quick and get ready to race again – this obviously included a trip to a enormous shoppingmall complete with a pirate ship, sea lion show, ice rink and water park!  I was excited to race again and with GB’s track record in relays, hoping to bring back some bling!  I was first leg and after a very very short triathlon passed over to Chris in 4th, he had another solid leg and handed over to Lucy still in 4th – Luce had a great swim (as expected) and came 10505375_10204467961240239_7397479093022757403_nout first with a little lead which she capitalised on during the bike meaning Gordon was handed a 30 second lead. He had another great race after medalling in the individual race and held the gap back to the Aussies and Canadians on the swim/bike meaning he didn’t have to work too hard on the run! He crossed the line and that was it… we were world champions!  We stole the finishing Bwe3UNMIUAEufBY.jpg-largebanner, had a little grove on the podium and ate 48 doughnuts between us so all in all it was a very good day! 
 
I still have two more races left, this Friday I fly out to France for my last French grand prix of the year for Team Metz, then back for my last block of training with some heat lab work before heading off to Mexico for my first world cup followed by a little end of season holiday! 
 
Thanks to everyone for their messages over the Championships, all your support has been great and really appreciated but a special mention to my housemates who have been little gems and my lovely mum!
 
Also thanks for the continued support from Huub, Zoot, Raleigh and Amanzi.

Blog number 11…

Well, what a crazy weekend it’s been! It started with a very stop-start drive up to Liverpool with mum for our last road trip of the year – the slow journey was bearable due to the fact I had Percy pig and his pals to keep me company. After getting to the hotel it was time for a quick interview, check the logistics of transition and have the athlete briefing where we were told that the weather for the following day wasn’t going to be great with hurricane ‘Bertha’ coming over from America and that we should expect the worse… I’d be lying if i said i wasn’t secretly pleased and the prospect of a slightly colder and wetter race but what we ended up with was far from ideal!

With an afternoon race there was plenty of time to chill in the morning and have a good catch up with Georgia TB who I have missed travelling and racing with this year but I’m sure will be back up and running in no time – I must say her delivery of Cornish fudge was greatly received! After a short delay, a pray to the weather gods and a dance to ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone’ we were announced down to the start with current world number 1, Gwen Jorgensen heading in first. The start line was crammed so I knew a quick start was going to be vital to set up the rest of the race – I got out well and found myself clear of the field with Jess Learmonth. I quickly dropped onto her feet as I knew this wouldn’t affect her swimming and she would also knock all the jelly fish out of my way! 10599372_10154431505575551_8668933616409168542_nWe got away on the swim with a gap of about 15 seconds to the main group, I knew Jess was a real strong rider too so after transition it was time to get our heads down to try and stay away on the bike. We got working straight away and managed to increas10495399_720275608027260_2466811751727346979_oe our lead on every lap. Coming into T2 we had just over a minute to Jorgensen, I knew this wouldn’t be enough to beat her but was confident it would be enough to end up on the podium. By this point in the race the wind had seriously picked up and as some points i’m sure I was running horizontally!

The inevitable happened on the final lap as Gwen over took me, I was surprised to hold on for as long as I did and to finish the race in 2nd was more that I could have hoped for. For me the race couldn’t have gone any better, my training has been geared around breakaway scenarios so for it to actually work and pay off was great!  I want to thank everyone who was cheering for me – it was honestly incredible to have all of that support out on the course!10610812_920155024667533_6337715903167676883_n

Unfortunately though, as the weather was deteriorating through our race so it became to dangerous for the men’s race to continue which is a real shame as it would have been a good show down!

I had my call up for the world champs yesterday so will be heading out to Canada next Sunday 😀

  10559751_920155031334199_6293396297108403416_n  A quick thanks to Raleigh, Zoot, Amanzi and Huub for helping over this year and to Nixie Turner and Hannah Johnston for letting me steal their photos!

Blog number 10…

The last two and half weeks have been spent abroad for a race and a training camp – the trip began with drive down to Luton with my mum, travelling buddy Katie Synge, two bike boxes, three people’s luggage, Molly the collie and Daisy the chicken – saying the car was full would be an understatement and yes, we did get some odd looks at the airport when Daisy was brought out of the car to get some fresh air before her onward travel to Kent!

Katie and I made it to Geneva however when we were waiting for our train to our hotel we thought we had ages to kill for the next train, we waited patiently on the platform only to realise we were at the wrong place and that we only had minutes to make the next train on the platform across the station, the lift was broken so it was back up on the escalators (not ideal with bike boxes!) we made the train and after an incident with a grumpy ticket officer and following a very brisk walk through the red light district we made it to our hotel.   

The day before the race we decided to go figure out the bike course, it was also a good excuse to check out the beautiful sights!  With no official briefing we armed ourselves with two maps and headed off, we may have got it slightly wrong to start with as it took us 35 minutes to do 5km…. safe to say we could have ran it quicker but we worked it out and we thankfully found the 750m climb as that would have been a bit of a shock in the race if we hadn’t! After a not so straight forward bike reccie, I was convinced the one for the swim would be easier as there was an official one for all the juniors – how wrong could I be! I caught up with the other GB juniors racing and we started swimming to the first buoy, we got 350m out only for a police boat to start circling us and then escort back to land as there had obviously been a lack of communication between the police and the ETU.Bs1_WEYIYAAYM64

Race morning came and it was time to get ready for my last ever european cup as a junior – my first one was back in 2011 in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary where much to the surprise of myself and everyone else I won – since then I have enjoyed a couple of podiums but haven’t won since so was hoping to have a good finish to my junior cup career!

With transition sorted, warm up done and athletes lined up, it was go time! I, alongside youngster Sian Rainsley, set the pace on the swim and lead from the start – the current meant the swim was pretty slow taking over 6 minutes to swim 350 metres but in the words of Dory all we could do was ‘just keep swimming’! After leading the swim out, I had a quick transition and was first on the bike, I got my head down to try and split the group behind – they caught on the hill but there were only eight of us. I should apologise for my sarcastic shouted words of encouragement but I do wonder sometimes if I’m in a triathlon with three disciplines or just a running race with a very long and varied warm up. T2 was good as I was first out and got stuck right in to the run – I led from the beginning and held off the Italian athlete Angelica Olmo to take the win.10522204_10203692167816476_5719363577825586066_n

After watching the elite women on the Sunday we packed up and headed over to Banyoles in Spain – after a delayed flight we made it and were ready for some sunny training. The two weeks consisted of some track sessions on a track filled with trees, riding up Rocacorba where the views and descent made up for the climb, swimming in the Lake in the centre of Banyoles which was possibly the warmest a10383488_10152364557224160_3375499807751630119_nnd clearest place I have ever swam and of course eating plenty of ice cream!Bt0GsxEIcAAjb_m (1)

It’s now time to get home, move into my new house in Loughborough and get ready for our national championships in Liverpool next weekend where I hope to qualify for the World Champs in Canada three weeks later.