Category Archives: Periods

Coming to terms with Kona

Well, I haven’t posted my race report, and I’ve been hesitant about doing so, because truthfully. I was disappointed with how the race went, and not only that, but my injury then had an impact on how I imagined my recovery and holiday in Hawaii would be. Having a goal and high expectations can sometimes lead to disappointment, and that is ok. I’m ok with being disappointed now. It helped reading Jesse Thomas’ report, which rang true for me in a lot of ways.

When I qualified Patrick and I had chatted and he said, so you could probably be in the top 20. I said I’d be delighted with that, then my coach said I could go top 10 if everything went well. I was really excited by this and as the season went on I was having breakthrough performances, so I knew, if I could do the same marathon pace and similar swim pace that I had in Wales then I could go sub 11 hours. I knew my bike would be quicker, as the course is not as hilly. I wasn’t thinking about position, as you never know who will be racing, but I thought that it was within my capability to go sub 11. I had worked really hard this year and it was showing.

On race day some things didn’t go to plan. I went in to the race having only just recovered from a cold. My swim was a bit slower than I’d have liked, then I crashed early on the bike. I don’t know if this affected my whole day after that point. I was really struggling mentally to find the positive in the race. I’ve practised riding in the wind, but my power was way down, even lower than in Wales last year, and I know I should have been able to push at least 10 watts more average. The run I found my rhythm for the first half then slowly gave up. I was trying to think of people who I knew were tracking me, but I just couldn’t stop slowing down. I didn’t care anymore and just wanted to get to the finish line.

When I finished I wasn’t in the best of states, so couldn’t really celebrate, as I had felt like doing last year. The next day I wandered around Kona, with the family, with PMT and my leg throbbing in pain, as I slowly realised I would need to see a doctor. Not the relaxing swimming in the sea with the family and snorkelling that I had imagined, but an afternoon in Kona Hospital, then waiting in Longs drugs for a prescription. Whilst we were walking to the hospital Milo stood on my toe, (He does this A LOT!)(one of my toes had a loose toenail from the run) and that started bleeding too. So no feet in the water!

Anyway, after all that I am now coming to terms with what has happened, I always try to focus on the positives, and what you can do, or what you have, rather than what you can’t do, or don’t have. But it has been challenging, especially while sitting in a canoe or beach, while your family snorkels and has fun in the water. But we have seen some amazing sights, and I am really grateful to have been able to race over here and visit the Island, we also missed the storms in the UK 😉 It didn’t go as I imagined it would, but thats how it goes sometimes. Its time to move on and start the next chapter!

Race report is here (Its a long one!)

 

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September (the road to Kona)

Another month, another 100 mile time trial, this one in polar opposite conditions to the one in June. The weather was cold, wet and windy, as opposed to one of the hottest days of the year! Not ideal for Kona preparation, but one hundred miles all the same. My result was good. I held 10 watts more power and knocked around 9 minutes off my PB, for the course. I also felt lot better mentally and was able to break the ride down, and focus on each part a bit better. On the last stretch I managed to pick my pace up a bit and was only 1 second off the winning female for the last section. Final results are here, as you can see the result sheet was full of DNS/DNF!!

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After the TT I had a horrible run to do, which I managed OK but spoke to Mark on the Tuesday, he gave me a bit more recovery before the next push.

The weekend after, I got to watch Ironman Wales, as I had THE WHOLE WEEKEND OFF! Unfortunately the weather was appalling, rain, and wind most of the day. I cycled up to Templeton and was soaked through within 10 mins, so I stayed for one lap of the bike before going home to dry out so that we could catch the train from Kilgetty to Tenby to watch some running. It seemed quite quiet compared to previous years, (probably because of the weather) and we managed to get some spectating in before dinner and the train home. I must admit I was happy to be spectating and not participating this year!

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I only had a couple more big weekends to go until the big day, the first of which seemed to kick start my period a week early. I have been tracking this like a hawk, as it has IMG_0887physiological effects on your body. What this meant, if my period started early, was that I would be around 1-2 days from my next period on race day, which is the worst time, especially in the heat, as blood plasma volume is lower which means you are at extra risk of dehydration, my core temperature will also be naturally higher, which makes things harder in the heat; however after a couple of days it decided to go away and reappear for Dale Half Marathon, its still not ideal as I will be in the second half of my cycle for Kona, and have the same problems as above, but nothing I can do except prepare for it to be tough, stay hydrated, and on top of my nutrition. If you want to read more about hormones and how they affect your training then there is a link here.

The day before Dale I had a longish ride so lots of fatigue in my legs. It was a tough weekend, but should be worth it! I was happy with my time at Dale, only a few minutes off my PB for a half so everything is still looking good.

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The following week I had to go back to some heat prep, which sounds OK (40mins in a hot bath) but really isn’t very pleasant, as its 40 minutes in a 40 degree bath after a training session. The first time I did it, I managed 25 minutes before feeling dizzy and sick and had to get out, the next time was 35, then I finally managed 40mins.

We had a final appointment in Cardiff for Patrick to have his bladder scanned and a consultation with Professor Kyneston. Everything was positive, and he recommended having an MRI to check on prostate cancer in a years time, then probably another 5 years after, so we can go away knowing that everything is OK, for now. We were both happy and relieved to get home, after that! The next stage is getting to Kona, which will be a mission in itself, but I’m feeling positive and excited about being there.

An unexpected result

An easy week

After last weeks mini holiday, it was back to it. Luckily I had an easy week planned as there was the washing, shopping, and general catch up that you need after going away. I had also entered Pembrokeshire coast Triathlon at Broadhaven at the weekend so it meant I would have a bit of a rest before the race.

I had a great bike session on Tuesday. I had been thinking on my previous long ride that I tend to get a bit lazy towards the end of a ride and start dropping the watts, so when I was at the side of the road checking my bike for creaks, and a man flew past asking if I was OK I thought I would see if I could catch him!

I was near the end of my ride so it was ideal for me to push a bit more than usual. It became apparent that I was catching him on the ups and then he was pulling away slightly on the downs. I managed to reel him in after Yerbeston, on the Ironman course, we got chatting and it was someone whose name I had seen on strava (Dave Swan if you’re curious!) I turned off at Molleston and left him to complete the rest of the Ironman loop.

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

Still getting the power dropouts, but have sent my power meter back, again…I may write a post about that bit of kit someday! Had a long run on Thursday and was surprised to see that my running has improved again!

A similar run last year and my run this week

A similar run last year and my run this week

Cancelled my swim session on Friday, as I was feeling a bit fed up with the pool and I didn’t want to do another session for the sake of it. On Saturday I raced Broadhaven and won! That was a real surprise, I knocked 5 minutes of my previous time, so I was obviously very pleased with that! Full race report is here.

Comparison between the years

Comparison between the years

I still need to do some work on programming myself to believe that I am a strong swimmer, as it was always my weak sport, so, in my subconscious, I still think I am not good, but the last 2 races I have done I have had pretty good swim times. Must keep that in mind 🙂

Look away now if you don’t want to read about hormones, and periods!

One thing men don’t have to worry about too much is how their hormones affect them during races, they pretty much have the same cycle of hormones every day ( high testosterone in the morning, which drops off during the day and is lowest in the evening) This is also affected by their actions, e.g. racing will produce a rise in testosterone, read more about this here.

Women, as you will know have varying hormones throughout the month, so at times all we really want to do is sleep all the time, when at other times of the month we are outgoing and confident, this corresponds to our cycle. I have been doing a bit of research on this, as I find it quite interesting. There is a lot more detail on hormone horoscope, which I find really helps me to deal with moods and how I feel certain times of the month!

The female cycle

The female cycle

The reason I am writing about this is that my period was due on the week of Broadhaven and all week I was worrying about when it would start, and whether I would have to deal with it on race day. I looked at a couple of forums, and found a post by a man who said don’t worry about it, chances are nobody will care, or notice, just wear some black shorts and get on with it. This relaxed me quite a bit, and I also mentioned to Patrick the night before, that the last time I had my period on a race I won!

I didn’t get my period until after the race but I still find it really interesting, as I am about a kilo heavier in the week before I start my period, so you would think that my performance would be worse. You would also think that there would be loads of interesting research on this, but I’m not sure if there is or where to find it. I did read Victoria Pendleton’s book and she mentioned that she always seemed to have her period on competition days. Maybe its time we started taking it into consideration, it is a massive part of women’s lives, but seems like people don’t really want to talk about it, although with online forums maybe people are starting to discuss more topics like this.

I did find some useful information here, which I recommend to anyone interested in how hormones affect your training and performance.