Friday, 29 April 2011

West Pinchbeck Duathlon

Surprisingly, this is how we looked after my first ever Duathlon (3km run/10km bike/3km run) and Layla's first race of the season. Spalding Tri Club put on a great, friendly race and I got plenty of encouragement along the way from everyone.
It may have been a flat course but the wind certainly made up for it. Just as I thought Robbie the racer was going really well, or my technique had improved dramatically, we turned into the wind for the second lap...
I got stopped at traffic lights for road works, which was a welcome rest on the bike, then off into the wind again until Eric and I turned for home.
My transition team were Judith and Mike and we managed a pretty slick changeover twice. I've just got to figure out putting on shoes and helmet after the swim for Nottingham. Managed to squeeze my derriere into new chair, so getting into the swing of things. Spalding Tri do river swimming so Layla and I are off next week to give that a go. Roll on the summer!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

New chair!!!! Thank you Aspire!!

I picked up my new chair from Bromakin yesterday! I still have an outstanding amount on account to pay but Rob kindly let me have it so that I can get used to it before my first competition, the National Champs.
Well, it fits like a glove (so well, in fact, that transition may take slightly longer than I envisage) and runs really well. This is me in my miniature version, with Jack using my borrowed one. I'm going to ask Paul if he can borrow it until he gets his own chair. His mum, Louise, put what looked like gardening gloves on him, then bound his hands with tape more normally seen under boxing gloves...
Still, we managed a decent session on the track doing skills and drills which Nikki Emerson talked over with Judith at the Paratriathlon training camp.

Monday, 18 April 2011

British Triathlon Training Camp

I can't believe that I was so nervous about attending my first training weekend with the BTF Paratriathlon Squad, when everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I fumbled around with my kit, lost my ipod shuffle, had too many bags, and worried about looking stupid, but nobody judged me (except perhaps the coaches, who were busy making notes on our performances all weekend...)
Saturday was a particularly busy day for me as I had squad training and a set of tests for a sport study by Scott Murray for his MSc. We started off with two hours in the pool with one hour of drills, followed by a speed set and video analysis. I can't wait to see myself swim, as I need that mental picture to see what I need to improve on.
After lunch we had track, but I was advised to rest before my test so I got to watch Nikki on the track-she looked really fluid, with a completely different style to both Jane and I, much more propulsion.
Scott was measuring lactate threshold by taking us through a simulated race, using handbikes on the track, followed by a 5km run. It was awful going round and round the track on the bike on my own plus the fact that we were doing nearly 25km as on the outside lane. I was finding it hard to maintain my pace of 18kmh which I'd decided might be my possible race pace. I'd done 6 warm-up laps, had blood taken, then was 12.6km through when we had to abandon it because they wanted to close the track. Gutted. I ended up missing the morning cycle ride, as well as what would have been a useful track session.
Up at 5:30am after a terrible nights sleep, no breakfast and at the track for 7am to share the track with Jimmy, who was also taking part. I knew I couldn't maintain any kind of race pace so settled on a constant 15kmh with Jimmy's ipod blaring out and me singing badly. Managed the two last laps at 18kmh, but my time was an appalling 1:33.52 (24.6km), but then told I couldn't do 5km run as Jonathan, our Manager, didn't want me to and a track meet was due to start.
Went back to the Hotel for breakfast and straight to my room to lie down and watch the London Marathon with Layla. We had a maximal weight test in the gym after lunch which was interesting. I managed to lift fairly evenly left and right which surprised me and bench pressed 35kg, with a seated cable row of 35kg with my right arm.
Jonathan gave me a GBR tri suit to try on (sure it was meant to be motivational) and I have to admit to taking a picture of myself in it. It did look good...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

What a week!

Gosh, where do I start? Decided to give my day chair a bit of an overhaul since I have some Fenwicks bike cleaner and didn't realise there were so many bits to wash/scrub! It's about time, as I've had it for three years now...
Jonathan Riall at BTF asked for volunteers for a classification course last weekend so I went along to Coalville as an interesting 'body' for the trainees to decipher. I now have three classifications (all the same). We enjoyed a lovely Italian meal afterwards.
I also received two pieces of really exciting news!! One is that I am finally going for a trial of FES at Sheffield this month, so I will become truly bionic soon! My physio thinks it may even be possible for me to walk without sticks for a friends Wedding in August and I'm planning on maybe dancing a bit! She is giving me some exercises to help loosen me up ;-)
The other is that I have been sponsored by The Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF) for my trip to the World Paratriathlon Championships in September. With my racing chair still to be completely paid for and the Europeans booked, it's fantastic news.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Last Leeds winter training session

Actually managed to turn up five minutes early to the last winter training session at John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds on Saturday, much to Paul's amazement. It's only because I didn't stop at Ferrybridge M&S on the way for some goodies...
Sadly, it's the last one until the autumn. I brought some choccies for everyone, but we had to work for them!
Warm-up inside, starts, stretches then outside in glorious sunshine for some tempo and fartleks sessions. I lost count of how many laps I did. Probably not as many as the others but I'm pleased with my 5km run time of 24 mins for the time being. I'm sure I'll improve with my own chair. Paul has kindly said I may keep his chair until mine arrives, then come down on a Thursday evening to test it all out. It seems ridiculous that I have to travel two hours out of Lincolnshire to get some quality coaching, but it just highlights the lack of wheelchair sports provision.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Course familiarisation

It's been a few years since I was last at Holme Pierre Pont in Nottingham doing this...
Just as well there is no picture of me after my bike ride there yesterday...Trust Judith and I to attempt it in a full Westerly Gale. We kept passing the same cyclist going the opposite way, who commented that I was very aerodynamic for the arms certainly didn't think so! Got a great 30km speed with the wind behind, but back to the granny cog for the next side, doing 12-15km. The surface is not brilliant for my hard recumbent ride, despite Spinergy wheels which take some of the shock out. The vibrations are horrendous, making my legs jump around with spasms and my fingers numb.
I met Pete, a friend from my waterskiing days afterwards and went for a huge Pub lunch of steak and chips (protein and carbs!) followed by chocolate fudge cake and cappuccino before setting off to Lincoln for a massage with Miss Whiplash aka Maddy.
She did warn me that I would have bruises and I have a nice set of fingers marks on my left bicep today. Just as well I'm not swimming-people would worry about me!