Long time no see… here's to 2014
Scottish life has been a mixture of emotions. Moving away from family and friends in October where a 2-3hour drive would be the maximum car time to see close ones. To now being based just outside of Dunblane and training out of Stirling University in their fantastic facilities including a lovely 50m pool. A slight change to a 6.5-7 hour drive (with stops) back to Cheltenham.
The first few months were, honestly, a struggle to adapt to change. Now, a few months on and I’m opening my blinkers to see the amazing beauty around us. Scotland is simply stunning and with being straight onto country roads from our doorstep, the quality of cycling and running is beyond appreciation. I can quite easily go for a 3-4hour ride, turn a couple of corners, no traffic lights, breath-taking scenery from my door. Now, that is pretty special. Bye bye Birmingham days of taking 20-30mins of potentially/guaranteed near car misses to get out of the city. Scotland is never ending of beauty and I’m seriously looking forward to exploring beyond what we have explored so far.
Many ask how I am dealing with the cold. Well, for you who know I have a SERIOUSLY high sweat rate, so every session outdoors in the cold, I’m still drenched through with sweat, so it’s almost like cycling and running in the rain each session ;-)! However, I do train with Osprey Verve 5 mostly, but also the tempest 9 and rev packs, to change my clothes mid ride or run to make it more manageable. I do see the cold as an extra added bonus to a session, dealing with it mentally, as we have all discovered, is a challenge in itself. I have previously slipped on ice and damaged my MCL on my inner knee. However, opportunities must be taken from a negative, and double swim days, covering 9k of swimming a day wasn’t uncommon, this with S&C work focus, led me only being out of running for 2 weeks, and cycling for 1 week. Happy days. Pays off to focus on what you CAN do and not what you CANT.
This led me nicely into going out with Triathlon Scotland for 2 weeks to Agualis, Spain. British Triathlon have set up camp their too, to escape the UK winter for a bit. The scenery is gorgeous, with great riding, many climbs and never a dull moment battling into the winds we had too, sorry UK ours was just the wind, which you didn’t mind with blue skies and no rain ;-)! We managed to get a few sea swims in too, the water was so clear and blue, great opportunity to get the Aqua Sphere wetsuit out. Read my review of the wetsuit here: https://www.facebook.com/aquasphereuk
Training with Natalie Milne was a fantastic opportunity for myself, and an eye opener to see the commitment, training volume, intensity and ‘routine’ for the elites out on camp in both environments. The training was fab and we had a laugh out there too, the group and Chris Volley always keeping us entertained. The insight and appreciation of being out in Aguilas is beyond words in this blog, and I thrived being given the opportunity. I have taken away many insightful information on training whether it be descending skills, to managing training, recovery and ‘acting’ as a full time athlete. So thanks Triathlon Scotland for a memorable opportunity.
A new ‘block’ of training has been formed which I’m truly excited about cracking on and building into gradually over the next few months.
In other news, I am happy to be sponsored by Yakult for 2014. Their mission statement promoting physical, mental health and wellbeing are expressed through their philosophy and science behind Yakult. It’s great to partnership with a company who have the same values as myself.
This year my main races include:
1. Ironman UK 70.3: 15th June
2. Castle Howard half ironman: 27th July
3. Scottish and British Middle Distance Champs: Aberfeldy 17th August
4. Helvellyn with Team 9bar: 7th September
5. Challenge Mallorca; European Championships 18th October
Other races form before and potentially during these events, bring on 2014