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Monday Morning Motivation – Crying in the Rain

4 Sep Norseman triathlon
Norseman triathlon

© Agurtxane-Concellon

I liked last week’s motivational video about Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon so much that I went hunting for another one and found this one from 2014 – enjoy!

“The tears stream down my cheeks from my unblinking eyes. What makes me weep so? There is nothing saddening here. Perhaps it is liquefied brain.”
― Samuel Beckett

Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is considered the ultimate triathlon on the planet, and the race that any hard core triathlete should do at least once. http://www.nxtri.com

Everybody who has done Ironman, I think it’s on the bucket-list to do.
It’s probably the most iconic, tough, ironman-distance race and there is such a mystique about it and a beauty about it.
You don’t know if you’re going to finish. You don’t know if you’re going to be able to do anything at all.
It is a true challenge, whereas an Ironman is more a parade where people are just clapping and cheering.
The process of getting ready for a triathlon is the hard part.
Coming here is the party.
It’s the combination of something I have worked so hard for to accomplish.
This is a good day, an easy day, I’m eager to get going.
I’ve got butterflies going crazy at the moment, so I keep trying to just think about my day rather than worry about all these very tall, athletic Norwegians.

Monday Morning Motivation – Ain’t no mountain high enough

28 Aug Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2016
Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2016

©kai otto melau / nxtri.com
#NXTRI2016

Earlier this month, some tough triathletes took on the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, which is one of the hardest triathlons on the planet. Here’s a video about last year’s event.

If you’d like to find out more, visit the event website.

HOWL aquathlon 2017

14 Jul Finish of HOWL aquathlon

This evening Stu and I took part in HOWL aquathlon. It’s the second year that the event has taken place and it was my second time taking part. Last year, I was pregnant when I took part, so I was grateful just to be able to do so. This year I was hoping that I would make it through the swim and would put in a good run leg.

Our lovely friend, Jez, has offered to babysit for us several times, so we decided to take his up on his kind offer. We figured that we shouldn’t be away from M for too long and if she was having a bad night then several of our other friends would be around to help out… plus Jez is a sporty guy (and amazing runner), so we thought he might like watching the aquathlon.

Tamsyn and M

We registered at 6:30pm and the event wasn’t due to start until 7:30pm, so there was

Waiting at the start of HOWL aquathlon

As well as the individual competition, there were also team prizes up for grabs. We had assumed that the first two men and two women from each club would count as a team, but were told that we had to pre-register as specific teams. This proved to be a little challenging as no-one was sure of their rank within the club – especially as many people are significantly better at one of the disciplines. In the end, Stu and I were registered in STC’s team 2.

STC at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

STC at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

Most of my clubmates were representing Southampton Tri Club in their club lit, but I only own an STC gilet and I wanted to wear my lovely kit from The Athlete’s Palate.

I set up my stuff in transition and then had some more time to chat with friends. Before long it was time for the race briefing. I should have been fully focused, but I suddenly realised that my swimming hat was missing. Panic! Panic! Jez kindly ran over to registration and picked up another hat for me, so I was able to start thinking about the race. [As an aside, it was great that women were given blue hats and men had the red hats – such a refreshing change!]

After the briefing, we were straight into the lake for a deep water start, so there was a bit of a warm up. To my dismay, wetsuits had been banned. I really feel the cold when swimming (because I am sooooo slow) and I also appreciate the extra buoyancy, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I just got in.

Getting in the water at HOWL aquathlon

Getting in the lake HOWL aquathlon start

I positioned myself towards the back, but was almost in line with the buoy as I didn’t want to swim any further than was necessary.

Start of HOWL aquathlon

I found the swim challenging, although I managed to get into a rhythm. I had forgotten how much I enjoy open water swimming as it’s so peaceful. I didn’t see anything strange out of the corner of my eye – usually, I spy my hand a lake monster and get freaked out, but not today.

I knew I wasn’t going quickly and this was confirmed when I got clopped in the head by one of the leading ladies heading towards the end of their swim.

I acclimatised to the water temperature fairly quickly, but was disarmed by some of the extremely cold patches that we had to traverse. I had thought that the water would get stirred up a bit by all of us swimming, but that didn’t happen.

I didn’t have a very quick transition. I tried not to faff, but I did exchange a few words with spectators.

My running is significantly better than my swimming, so I was pleased to see some other runners up ahead who I was able to hunt down. I haven’t seen the splits yet, but I think my run was quite good.

Running at HOWL aquathlon

© Darryl Marcus-Hanks

On the second lap, there was a lady in a yellow top up ahead. I chased her for a significant portion of the second lap. In the end, she beat me by about 6 seconds and was 3rd V40 lady. Maybe next year, my swimming will be back on track and I’ll be able to chase her down!

Finish of HOWL aquathlon

Last year, I managed:

Swim time: 21:47

Transition time: 1:16

Run time: 30:06

Overall: 53:09

Here are my (provisional) results for this year (based on my Garmin):

Swim time:  21:12

Transition time: 01:05

Run time: 24:30

Overall: 00:46:44.274

So, it was a PB 😀

I was 16/21 senior ladies and 19/35 women.

It was also great to learn that Stuart was first V40 finisher – well done, Stu!

Stuart finishing HOWL aquathlon

What Valentine’s Day means to triathletes…

7 Feb

swim bike run Valentine

There are several challenges for non-triathletes who are dating triathletes…

The first challenge is buying the right gift. Typical Valentines gifts include:

  • underwear
  • shoes

Then of course, there are the activities. You’re thinking you might need some lube to get your pulse racing, whereas we want a HRM (or some body glide)!

Anyway, there’s no reason why you can’t fall back on these Valentines favourites for the triathlete in your life. There’s plenty of sports specific underwear available – if your partner is female then there are lots of gorgeous crop tops and sports bras available and either gender could appreciate some Runderwear.

When it comes to shoes, there are so many options:

  • swim bootees (especially useful if you live somewhere where the water is cold!)
  • cycling shoes
  • trainers

Remember that your triathlete partner may be on a strict training schedule, so a late night out or a boozy meal may not appeal to them… but some healthy treats and a massage would probably be appreciated.

What I’ve been reading this week:

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Monday Morning Motivation – Bad to the bone

30 Jan

If you have 10 minutes to watch this video of Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon 2015 then you’re bound to feel inspired (and in awe of the athletes who take part).


“If you’re looking to test your personal limits and find your mental and physical boundaries in a single day event, I think this is the only place you can come.”

“It is unique to jump in the cold water, to climb the mountain, to share with all the family. That makes it unique to share – to know that we’re not alone”

“This is the coldest water I’ve ever swam in in my entire life. There will be a time when I’m warm again, it might be tomorrow or tonight, but a time will come in the future and just put your mind on that – this is temporary, you just have to work through it. I think you’ve got to be strong up here!”

“You know it wasn’t bad in the beginning, it got cold once we got into the bay.”

“This is ridiculous.”

“How was the water?”

“Freezing!”

“That was awesome!”

First 160 athletes allowed up to Gaustadtoppen checkpoint known as Zombie Hill.

“But we are ahead of time. You said like 14 hours and 30 minutes…”

“But there are 160. That’s our safety cut off!”

Monday Morning Motivation – Women for Tri

26 Dec

I love this video from Women For Tri.

One day, I’ll swim, I’ll bike and I’ll run.

One day, I’ll make my mum proud.

One day, she’ll stand on the sidelines and watch me finish…

because today, I stand and watch her.

One day, I’ll be an Ironman.

You never know who might be watching and being inspired by you 🙂

 

Monday Morning Motivation – Ironman Objective

12 Dec

Do you have two minutes to spare? This inspirational triathlon training video with Christophe Suquet is a great way to start your week.

Passion.

Determination.

Generosity.

Perseverance.

Ironman Objective.

If you’d like to learn more about Christophe (and can speak French), you can follow his blog: http://christophesuquet.over-blog.com

 

Monday Morning Motivation – Meet Non Stanford’s Toughest Opponent

17 Oct

Triathlon is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Mastering three disciplines simultaneously puts an immense amount of pressure on an athlete’s body.

After a string of injuries forced Non Stanford to take a break from her sport in 2008, it was the mental strain of starting all over again that challenged her the most. It was during this period that Non had to learn true patience, accepting her limits, understanding her body and controlling the urge to push beyond what she could do. The gruelling and often lonely training tested Non’s mental resilience. While many athletes would have thrown in the towel, Non used the experience to emerge a more complete competitor.

There is no greater opponent than the one inside your own head. We explore the mind game that every athlete has to overcome on the path to greatness.

Non Stanford:

To go from World Champion to not even being able to stand on a start line was pretty tough. I was pushing a bit harder in training and got injured. Patience is one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learnt as a triathlete. I’ve had to learn it the hard way. Everyone has self doubts or moments of weakness. It makes you more tough at the end of the day.

Tomorrow I will be more patient.

Planning for 2017 and SUTRI aquathlon

7 Oct

After feeling too tired to run on Monday, I arranged to meet my running buddy on Tuesday… but fate conspired against me and I didn’t make it, so I was pleased when Teri said that she could run on Wednesday.

I drove over to The Common and did a gentle warm up whilst waiting for Teri. Annoyingly, my Garmin 910XT is terminally ill and the buttons have become unresponsive, so none of my warm up was captured 😦

It’s been a while since Teri and I have been able to go out for a social run, so I really appreciated it. I hope it wasn’t too bad for her as she listened to me talk non-stop for almost 40 minutes, whereas I was not a good listener (sorry, Teri!)

It would have been possible for us to stay entirely on the flat, but after we’d done the first part of our run, I thought we might as well tackle the hill – at least I knew there’d be a downhill afterwards.

Teri had brought Lulu (her dog) with her, which meant that we had a couple of little breaks. However, I’m not used to running with a dog, so I would pause every now and again whilst Lulu stopped to sniff something as I was worried that we would somehow lose her. Luckily, she is a well-behaved dog, so she always came running after us.

By the time we got back to my car, my Garmin was saying that I had done 5.8km. I was a little tempted to jog up and down to make it say 6km, but I know I had run at least 200m before my Garmin started, and I needed to get home.

In the evening, we met a group of friends from Tri Club at a local pub. Everyone who came along is considering doing an Ironman or a half in 2017… and there were quite a few others who are interested, but were unable to attend. A large group of STC people have entered Ironman Austria, which sounds lovely, but I think the logistics of travelling overseas with a young baby might be too much for me. Fortunately, Ironman Weymouth is unlikely to sell out, so I can make a decision much closer to the date about whether it’s a realistic goal. It’s not too difficult to find accommodation, plenty of my friends would be able to come and support and if I’m not ready for a full Ironman, there is a half taking place simultaneously. [Unfortunately, I’ve now heard that Ironman haven’t yet confirmed that there will be an event in Weymouth next year, so fingers crossed!]

Yesterday evening, I marshalled at an event for my other Tri Club – SUTRI. An aquathlon had been organised at the local lake for Freshers. It consisted of a 300m swim and a 2.5k run. I’d have loved to have taken part, but I’m not sure that my wetsuit would fit me, and I was afraid that the water would be too cold. (I was right to think that as it was a chilly 13C/55F – brrrr!)

Canada Geese 1 Canada Geese 2

Stu and I arrived at 5:30pm, but there weren’t many people around. During the day, quite a few people had dropped out. The main group was travelling by public Uni-Link bus. Unfortunately, they were travelling at rush hour and as it is the start of the academic year, the first bus that arrived was full, so they had to wait for another bus.The HOWL gazebo

Eventually, it was agreed that there would be two waves for the event – the people who were ready at the lake and a second wave for the people who were stuck on the bus. This was mainly because the light was going and a long section of the run route is tree-lined, so it’s quite dark even on a sunny day.

I was marshalling at the first main turn. I took a camping chair with me as I wasn’t sure how long I would have to stand for and I get faint if I stand still for too long. The chair turned out to be unnecessary for two reasons: firstly, I was right by some picnic tables and secondly, it wasn’t long before the athletes came past.

I was sitting down when I saw the first runner, so I jumped up and got into position. It was only as the runner got very close that I realised it was Stu. I’ve not seen him wear the lovely tri top that he got at Ironman Copenhagen before. He was looking strong and relaxed… but I was too flustered to take a photo – oops!

img_7876

When the tail runner came past, I asked him whether the late arrivals were going to be allowed to run, but he didn’t know, so I figured that I had better wait and see.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before I saw a girl in a trisuit coming in my direction, shortly followed by some lads. At the back of the pack, Stu was doing another lap as tail runner.

I picked up some route signs and cones and headed back to the start, arriving just as the final finisher came in.

A quick look at the results confirmed that Stu had won the event in 15:49. He had hoped to be quicker, but I think it’s harder to push yourself when there are no athletes around you (the faster people were mainly in the second wave). He also had a problem in transition as the zip on his wetsuit broke, so it took him quite a long time to get it off. (If anyone can give any recommendations for a man’s wetsuit, I’ll pass them on to Stu. He’s a strong swimmer [58 mins at Ironman Copenhagen – 3.8k]. He’s about 5’8″/173cm tall and weighs about 135lbs/9st9lb/60kg. He currently wears a 19 Rogue).

After the aquathlon, we stopped for a little while to talk to people from SUTRI and other friends who were arriving for a ‘Glow in the dark’ swim. It looked like a lot of fun, but was also a reminder that it’s the end of the open water swimming season here. I hope that by the time May comes around, I can get back into my wetsuit and will be able to join in the fun again.

Collage from SUTRI aquathlon

 

Monday Morning Motivation – The Iron Nun

12 Sep

Feeling old this morning? Watch this and feel inspired!

If you’d like to learn more, you can watch a ‘behind the scenes’ video – ‘I realised the only failure is not to try’:

If you have half an hour to spare, then you could watch a longer video:

Which older people inspire you?