Category Archives: positivity

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 ūüėČ 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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How do you define success?

Success conjures up many images, and is not defined in the same way for everyone. When racing, success, in its most basic terms is measured by your result. But is that really success? Some of the times that I feel the most accomplished is not necessarily when I have done well in a race. If the competition was not there, and it was an easy win, then it is not as satisfying as when I have overcome mental blocks, or pulled myself back from negative thoughts or a dark place.

We all have different circumstances and lives, measuring yourself against other people is at best futile, and at worst damaging to your mental health. So how do you measure your own success? or find ways of celebrating the small things? First you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. It may be, a PB, it may be, just finishing a race in brutal conditions (I’m thinking Ironman Wales this year!), it may be, managing to balance your life, so you have time to do the things that you really want to, or overcoming a fear.

All of these things are valid ways of celebrating what you have achieved, and if things don’t go well in a race there are always things to take away from it, there will have been some success somewhere, you just may need to look for it. Find a way of being proud of yourself, and you will be successful.

If you did race Ironman Wales at the weekend, then here are some stats about the race and the amount of DNF and time differences to other years that you may find interesting. I’m sure when looking at them you will find something to be proud of!

http://www.coachcox.co.uk/2017/09/11/ironman-wales-2017-age-group-results-kona-qualification/

August (The road to Kona)

I spent most of the first day of August in Patricks hospital room in Cardiff while he recovered from surgery, with a brief excursion to the pool and Waitrose, which handily is next door to the hospital. (So glad we don’t have one near us, it would be so dangerous. I seem to have spent a lot of time this month in Waitrose one way or another!) Patricks parents came to stay for a few nights after the op, so that we could have some help with the kids. They took them out for the day on the Friday that we came home, which was really helpful as I could get things organised at home and fit in my training.

The week after, we were given another appointment for Patrick, in Cardiff, that day was the only day of training that I missed, which is testament to the support that I am getting. The day after the appointment Patrick seemed pretty low, he was uncomfortable and I really wanted to make him feel better, but there was really nothing I could do. I was feeling guilty about racing at the weekend but Patrick assured me that he wanted me to race, so he had lined up a beach BBQ with a friend, and my mum was on hand to drive, I felt like I was leaving him in safe hands.

Race report is here. I was really happy with my overall race, and its looking promising for my endurance fitness. When I got home I felt a bit rough for a couple of days but had a lot of recovery in my diary so managed to bounce back fairly fast. I packed my bike in the bike bag, that Jan has kindly lent me, to check if it would fit in the car (it did), and caught up on a few jobs that needed doing.

Now that Kona is so close, I’m beginning to think about afterwards, Patrick and I had to drive to Cardiff again for another appointment, so we had a chance to chat about next year and what our plans are. I know we both need a break from me competing at a high level. But I also need something to get excited about!

The remainder of August seemed to fly by. My training started to build again towards the end of the month, and I started dreaming about Kona! There are still some final things I need to sort out before going, and I’m planning on tackling these when the boys go back to school.

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I had a great recovery day at the end of August with the family, unfortunately Milo was ill so it didn’t quite go as planned but we managed to catch the worlds most expensive mackerel on a fishing trip in Tenby! The good news is that Patrick seems to be on the mend. He still has an appointment at the end of September to check that things have gone Ok, so we’re hoping that will go well, and another appointment to discuss any cancer treatment at the beginning of September.

Change, nobody said it was easy

I was in the pool today and I overheard 2 people having a conversation about somebody who they had been out on a ride with. I didn’t catch the whole of the conversation but I got the gist of it, which was as follows; The person they were riding with was trying to follow a set session and the person that they were riding with wasn’t happy about it. They just wanted to ride as they always did.¬†As I was leaving, I started to think about why this person was unhappy or berating the other person, and it comes down to one thing, change, or fear of change.
When you hire a coach or follow a training plan you are taking the first step towards making a change. You are committing to becoming faster, and fitter, and this can scare people as it can make them look at themselves and start asking questions.

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One of the hardest things about making a change is making your environment fit that change. For example you will find it hard to eat more healthily if your cupboard is full of unhealthy food, and you will find it hard to cut back on drinking if you have a routine of going to the pub every night and drinking with your friends. You either need to replace the habit with another (better habit) or ditch the habit altogether.
The same goes for your training. If you really want to get faster and fitter then you need to follow a plan. You can’t expect to improve, by doing the same as you have always done, which brings me back to the group ride being discussed at the pool.
Group training sessions have their place, and can be incorporated into your training, especially if they are progressive and aimed at the event that you are training for. But often they are not and this is when you may need to do something different.

As far as group rides go, if you were a pure cyclist they would be a lot more useful, as you would need to ride in a group, but as a triathlete you should be aiming to sustain power without drafting, which is difficult to do in a group setting. You can try to follow a planned session but in my experience you don’t get the quality that you do when you are on your own or with someone who is a similar ability to you.

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As I said earlier to make a change you need to change your environment and this may mean ditching some of your group sessions, especially if the group is not supportive of your training goals. Its not easy, and thats why not everyone is willing to do it. You can carry on “just getting it done” as my friend at the pool advocated or you can focus on being the best that you can be, at the end of the day its your choice.

Mapping out the season

Recovery and reflection

Last year I wrote a post about the end of the season, and how it is an important time for reflection and enjoying break from structured training. You can read it here. This is a great time of year for putting things in place that will help you to achieve your goals. But before you sign up for things, have a think about what your goals are, and make sure that whatever you are doing will lead towards that goal.

This is also a time when you can assess what is going on in your life, if you have a bit more time due to reduced training. All too often we take on extra responsibilites thinking we will cope with them and that we can cram more into an already busy life, but being honest with yourself and looking at things rationally you may find that there are just not enough hours in the day to do it all. Simplifying your life is hard, as in our culture we are expected to be busy all of the time, but taking time to reflect actually helps you to become more efficient and to do a better job of things.

The seasons naturally help us, with less daylight hours there is less time to be outdoors and we can give our bodies and minds a break from the pressures of race season, and to decide what it is we truly want. When you know that then you are one step on your way to achieving it.

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Spending time with family

 

Goal setting

Deciding  on a goal and committing to it is a scary prospect, so make sure it fits in with your values and beliefs then you will have a greater chance of achieving it. Have a good think about your goal or goals and also reflect on what is important to you as an individual. It may be that your goal is incompatible with your life at the moment so you have to wait and give it time, or you may be able to commit, but with a flexible approach.

I will give you an¬†example. Next¬†year I am racing in Kona, this is only one of my priorities. My¬†other priorities are; investing time into my coaching business, spending quality time with my family, supporting Patrick after he has his operation, getting The Training Barn up and running, and visiting other family members. These are some of the most important ones, and they all need to be balanced. There will be times when things are not balanced, as life does not run on a straight trajectory from A-B, but having something in mind and checking in with it every now and then, can help to focus our minds on what is important to us. At the moment Patrick doesn’t have a date for his operation, and he doesn’t know how it will affect him afterwards, so he can’t plan too much into the future. I don’t know how it will affect me either, so we need to keep communicating about this. There may be times when my priorities have to shift and I am prepared for that.

So to apply this to yourself have a good look at what you have going on in your life and anticipate any problems, times when you may need to adjust, or to let go of things in order to achieve your goals. In training we prepare for an event by adapting our bodies to the challenges of race day and we can apply this to prepare our minds in the same way.

 

New Year, New you? Not likely!

January 2016

Cue, promises and resolutions to be made, and broken. It seems that wherever you look there is something or someone promising you a new start, and to cure all of your problems. The reality is that change generally happens slowly. If you have ever tried to follow a detox plan or give something up, it often ends in failure.

This year¬†I would urge you to make changes that are sustainable and achievable. It may not be as dramatic as detoxing or giving things up, and may not sound as exciting, but when you look back at where you were and where you are now, you will find that exciting. Small changes over time add up to big changes in the long run, and being a little bit patient will get you results that you may not have imagined. Remember too that you don’t have to wait until a New Year to make changes, gradual adjustments happen all year round, so every day can be like a new years day with this philosophy.

Wherever You Go, There You Are…

You may have heard of this book by¬†Jon Kabat-Zinn, about mindfulness.¬†I love the title (which is a Confucius quote)¬†because it speaks a truth about change, you will still be you however many changes you make. Make sure that any goals or changes ring true with you, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and if something isn’t working out for you then in the words of Elsa “let it go”. Maybe this will be the year of letting go for you, whatever it is, I wish you a Happy New Year.

 

December 1st

It is now officially December, the countdown to Christmas has begun, and as we all know it can be a stressful time of year. There are many expectations of us from family, friends and the media. Some of these expectations are unhelpful, and it is your job to recognise when you are starting to harm yourself by taking on other peoples expectations of you.

We are bombarded with images of how Christmas “should” be, but many people do not fit in to this model, and this can make us feel isolated, or just a bit strange! It is ok to want different things at this time of year, and its up to you to decide how you want to spend your holiday time.

I would encourage you to think about your priorities . What is important to you? and what are you willing to compromise? This will allow you to make choices about the festive period that keep you and those around you happy. Throughout December I will be posting some tips on how to keep yourself content and hopefully stress free this Christmas, they will be related to nutrition, training, and family (your team!) Hope you enjoy reading, and happy 1st December.