Originally I had planned to write a post for Tamsyn’s blog after IM Copenhagen but things didn’t go quite to plan and following on from that I wasn’t feeling what I thought I should be feeling so hopefully this post will also help me explore that a bit.
Firstly, I entered IM Copenhagen back in September 2015 as I wanted to have a challenge for myself ahead of my 40th birthday at the end of this year. At that stage I was reasonably confident about the running and swimming but had never ridden over 65 miles. Those regular readers of the blog will know that I don’t have a great injury track record and at the time of entering I was recovering from a torn calf muscle which happened the week before IM Dublin 70.3.
I realised I needed a bit of help with my goal and after not being able to find a local coach I signed up to online coaching via Training Peaks (Carson at Fascat Coaching if anyone is thinking about a coach) in November.
To cut a long story short, I completed around 450 hours of training in the build up to the race with the support of friends and especially Tamsyn who took on more housework to help me have more training time and put up with me being tired and grumpy a lot. There were a few bumps on the way with niggles and illness but this was probably the best training block I’ve ever had. Good to go for race day.
The short term preparation was badly hampered by our bikes being stolen – not really an impact on training but very stressful and time consuming trying to obtain a race bike and deal with police and insurers. Thanks to Darren at Estrella Bikes http://www.estrella-bikes.com/ I was lent a road bike to race on although I wasn’t able to get any long rides in ahead of the race. I managed to get a last minute bike fit from Garth at Vankru http://www.vankru.com/ so was confident I would be OK with the position despite that lack of time on the machine.
Copenhagen is a great city and whilst expensive, I’d recommend a visit and the race to others. A few days here getting registration, racking etc. done with a bit of light tourism and I was ready to race.
The swim went pretty well – it’s a fast route being in a lagoon with the benefit of salt water but not having waves or strong currents to worry about. Age group athletes get set off in groups of 6 every 5 seconds so there is nowhere near as much stress at the swim start as many other races.
It did get hard to sight at times with fog but I was really happy to come in at 58:05 with around half without any drafting and having done an extra 200m as a result of sighting issues. Transition was fairly standard and out onto the bike course.
I got about 3k into the bike when another rider swerved in front of me trying to correct themselves after going onto the wrong side of the road and nearly head on into a bus. I took a bit of evasive action but unfortunately caught a pothole which then resulted in me clipping the kerb.
I was probably riding around 35kph / 22 mph and went down. Nothing spectacular but a bit of a shock all the same. Some spectators helped pick up the bike and walked me down to some nearby marshals. I could definitely feel the road rash down my right side but of more concern was a gash in my wrist. At the time I was struggling to move my fingers a lot (which subsequently is absolutely fine) and I was not confident it would last the vibrations of another 175k and be safe and enable me to brake.
Another factor was a crack in my helmet which meant I was likely in trouble if anything else happened. I was looked at by the race doctor who confirmed I would need stitches in my wrist and arranged for an appointment at a local clinic. I rode there having no other transport and after that back to the hotel.
I knew Tamsyn would be really worried as around 90 mins had passed since the crash and I hadn’t been able to contact her.
What the big surprise for me was the realisation that came to me waiting for the doctor – despite the hours of training, emotional investment and cold hard cash required to get me onto the start line in the best shape I have ever been in, I wasn’t devastated, angry, frustrated or anything I would expect to feel. It’s hard to rationalise this and I’m not sure I understand my own feelings on this but in hindsight I had no doubt I could complete the race and the only question was how quickly. I had hoped some months ago for sub-11 hours but actually sub 10:30 was realistic on a good day. I’m not competitive with others generally and really just with myself and my own abilities so maybe I had proven to myself what I needed to.
These, combined with more important things in life (looking after Tamsyn ahead of our baby being born later this year) left me feeling that it was ok. I have no regrets over the decision made on course – it was the right one.
The only disappointment I have is not seeing the bike course and more of Denmark and feeling the support of the crowd on the run route through the centre of Copenhagen.
We went to spectate and the support was superb. I’d really recommend this race – the course is beginner friendly and fast as well as having good support on the run.
I’m not sure what the next step is for me – I could look to race long distance again in a few weeks or alternatively may call it a day for the season or just race a marathon. I’m going to take a few days to decide whilst my body heals.
I never though I would say this but I just DNF’d a race I’d spent 8-months training for and I feel fine.
We didn’t arrive in Copenhagen early enough for the Ironman 5k run that took place on Wednesday, so I was keen to take part in parkrun on Saturday morning. Denmark was the first country outside of the UK to have a parkrun and we knew that there were three in Copenhagen. We quickly realised that the view from our hotel room window was of Amager Faelled, which is where Denmark’s oldest parkrun takes place.
We got up early on Saturday morning and dressed in our running clothes before heading down for breakfast. I was worried about Stu doing too much ahead of his ironman, but his coach had told him to do a 20 minute run, so he said he’d be OK to do parkrun with me.
We went to the nearby Metro and took the next train to DR Byen, which is the stop nearest to the start of the parkrun. We crossed the road and started walking across the park.
After walking for quite a while, I started to get worried as there was no sign of a parkrun. We then saw an olde lady running, so we asked her is she knew about parkrun. Of course, she spoke impeccable English, but she apologised that he was unsure where the start was and said she thought we should continue in the direction we were going.
There were quite a few runners around, but none of them looked like they were intending to do parkrun as they seemed focuses on their own workouts.
A little while later, we saw some more people who seemed to be looking around. They turned out to be more English people looking for the start of parkrun.
Although this event has been running for 7 years, it is very low key. We found a patch of grass and a couple of people who has stopped there with bicycles. Apparently, somewhere nearby was a sign, but we think it was in the opposite direction.
There were a number of English people who had arrived to run – mainly friends and family of people taking part in Ironman Copenhagen, like me. Everyone gathered on the patch of grass where a tarpaulin was spread out as a place for people to leave their bags and jackets.
After the briefing, we walked a few hundred metres to the start line that was marked in organic flour. We had been told that there would be no marshals on the run course, but that all of the turns were marked with flour.
I set off quite slowly as I was at the back. It wasn’t long before I got chatting with a group of parkrunners who were mainly from the Milton Keynes area. This was good because it meant that I maintained a steady pace.
The course was mostly flat, with only very minor inclines and declines. I was surprised to see one of the runners emerge from a thicket, but assumed that he had needed a ‘comfort break’, so I thought no more of it… Until he stopped again a couple of hundred metres later and I realised that he was picking blackberries as he ran and filling a small bag!
I hadn’t realised from the race briefing that it was a two-lap course, so it came as a surprise to pass the flour start-line. I glanced at my watch and could see I was doing quite well, so I decided to maintain the same easy even pace and see whether I could finish in under 30 minutes. Just after 4K, my right leg started to feel a bit tired and achy, but I figured that wouldn’t do my baby any harm, so I kept going!I was delighted to cross the line in an official time of 29:47, which isn’t bad for 32 weeks pregnant. I definitely think the flat course and cool breeze helped.
After the run, Stu and I chatted with a few other parkrunners befor thanking the Run Director for holding such a lovely event. If you ever have the chance to take part here, I strongly recommend it. It is a small and friendly event.
All photos by Henrik Poulsen.
This is the day we stand up for standing together.
We commit to:
Put an end to undermining
Live on the healthy side of competition
Lift our fellow sisters
Realize our limitless potential
Alone we are strong, united we thrive.
Together we create the Power of She.
I love this video that shows the hard work gymnasts need to put into their sport, often at an age when they are in full-time education.
What sacrifices are you making to achieve your goals?
I love reading about unusual stories from the history of sport. My friend Ola recently wrote a great article on
before I read this article, I had no idea that this tour took place. One of the aspects that I found most interesting was that they players did not wear shoes. I can’t imagine trying to play football with a lightweight plastic children’s ball, let alone a heavy leather football of the type used in England in the 1940s.
Ola’s article is really well-written, so even if you’re not a football fan, you’ll enjoy it.
Thanks to lots of sharing on social media, one of our bikes has been recovered I went to Southampton Police Station this morning and identified my Giant Escape City W, which had been abandoned less than 5km from where it had been stolen. It still had its panniers attached and their usual contents (puncture repair kit, spare inner tube etc) inside. I am so grateful to everyone who shared information about our bikes on social media, but in particular Lisa. It was one of Lisa’s friends who saw a photo of my bike and identified it as one she’d seen.
I am also very grateful to the ‘older gentleman’ who found my bike and contacted the police.
The bike was abandoned in an area that is not a through-road, so we are assuming that the thieves were not in a van and were trying to get away whilst riding/pushing the bikes. This gives me hope that they are still in the Southampton area. If you live in Hampshire and haven’t yet shared any of my posts, I’d be really grateful if you could. Here’s a link to the public Facebook album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10157423984415651&type=1&l=6c193cbd3f
Also, someone has generously agreed to loan Stuart a gorgeous new bike (that is being held in a secure location until we travel to Denmark). We are incredibly grateful – more details about this beautiful bike will be shared later
Last night whilst I was asleep my garage was broken into. 5 bikes were stolen. I am devastated.
The most upsetting factor is that my husband has spent months training for Ironman Copenhagen and we’re due to travel there in just a few days time, but now he has no bike. Several people have very generously offered to lend him their bikes, but not many of them are the same size as Stu. We really appreciate the offers and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that one particular offer works out, but it still won’t be the bike that he has trained on and got used to.
If anyone is offered a ‘good deal’ on any of the following bikes, please get in touch:
This is the main bike that you will have seen pictures of me riding. It is my pride and joy.
This is the bike that Stuart rode in Japan.
This is the bike that I rode in Japan.
This is my work hybrid, so I usually use it every day.
We have the serial codes of these bikes.
Steps to recover the stolen bikes
I’m aware that most people never get their bikes back, but there are a few glimmers of hope and stories from friends who have tracked down their bikes down on Gumtree or ebay.
So far, Stuart and I have done the following:
It is possible to register your bike(s) with many of these places whilst it is still in your possession, so it may be worth you spending your time checking that you have full details of any bike that you own and that you have registered it on line. If the worst does happen, then it takes an awful lot less time to get it registered as stolen.
We already had full privacy settings on Strava/Garmin Connect etc and think it’s likely that someone had seen Stuart riding his distinctive bike around. Also he has had to use his turbo trainer in the garage recently, so anyone walking past when the door was open would have seen the bikes.
A reward is offered for each of the bikes ranging from £75-£750. Please get in touch via the comments if you hear anything or contact Hampshire Police on 101 quting the reference number 44160303060… and I’d be really grateful if you could share this blogpost.
Thank you x
UPDATE: 14/08/16 The Giant Escape City W has now been recovered. It was dumped in Golf Course Road, Southampton, which is relatively near to where it was stolen from. I have identified it at the police station, but have left it there for finger-printing. This gives me hope that the others may be found.
The last three weeks have been pretty exciting for me on social media. First of all, at the end of July I learnt that Fat Girl to Ironman had been added to the Vuelio Top 10 UK Sports Blogs, which was a big surprise, especially given the prestigious company I was in. Please check out the blogs on that list.
Then this week, I heard from WIMI Sports and Fitness who gave included this blog on their 50 Best Women’s Running Blogs to Start Reading Now.
I was familiar with a lot of blogs on this list, but have enjoyed spending the last couple of evenings going through the list and subscribing to lots amazing running blogs.
Which blogs are your favourites and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to have some Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces to try recently.
They come in a wide range of colours, but this pair especially appealed to me as they match my favourite trainers… which match my Team SOAS kit.
I have tried various elastic lace systems in the past, but the first pair that I bought were very cheap and were so stretchy that my shoes kept slipping off. The next pair that I tried were OK for a while, but I found that if I ran for longer distances (over 10k), my feet started to swell and my shoes became too tight, so I’ve been searching for a perfect replacement for a little while.
There are lots of benefits to using Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces:
This short video shoes just how easy Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces are to install:
My partner, Stu, is just a couple of weeks out from his first Ironman, so he has been looking for the perfect laces. He chose to add a pair of the laces in white to his Brooks shoes that he uses for distance running:
Since putting the laces into his shoes, Stuart has worn them for quite a few long (10 miles+) training runs. I managed to get a couple of pictures of Stu out running with those shoes on:
Stuart is a very different runner from me – he’s got good technique and can comfortably ‘jog’ a hilly marathon in under 3:25. I asked him what he thought of the laces, and this is how he responded:
“I think they give a more consistent tightness than standard elastic laces. I will definitely be wearing them for triathlons in future. They were quite easy to install, although I found putting the ends on quite fiddly… but that’s a one-off job, so it didn’t bother me”
So, what do you think? For me it’s free speed for my next triathlon
I’m hosting a Phoenix fit UK elastic laces giveaway, so please enter for a chance to get your hands on “the ultra tough elastic lace system.”
I have three pairs of laces to give away – the winners will be able to choose from the following colours (depending on availability).
The giveaway runs from 12:00am on Monday August 8th 2016 to 12:00am on Monday August 22nd. Full terms and conditions are available at the link below:
No purchase necessary. Entrants muct be resident in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and announced on this blog by Wednesday August 24th.
An amateur athlete's story
Be Your Best Runner
My five year journey to awesomeness...
a funny runner running to the beat of her own hum, like literally.
My five year journey to awesomeness...
Canadian marathon record holder
Running Mom Blog | Christian Mom Blog | Fitness Mom Blogger | Kansas City Mom Blogger and Runner| Balancing Faith, Family, Fitness, Food and Fun
My five year journey to awesomeness...
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