Monthly Archives: May 2014

Thanks H2Open for an awesome article!

H2Open Article 1

H2Open Article 2

 

We are beginning to feel the pressure now… suddenly 11.5 miles seems pretty far!

But we are very excited about our training swim tomorrow at Queensford lakes (fingers crossed it’s easier when Alice is there to hold my hand ;)!) Apparently it takes six sessions to get over cold water shock…

One down.

Five to go…

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Training Sessions without Alice are clearly a bad idea…

On Sunday, despite the fact that Alice couldn’t make it, I finally decided that it was time to actually get in some cold water to accept the reality of what we are trying to achieve…

Clearly I don’t train as well without Alice. Getting into a cold murky lake near reading was not as easy as I’d anticipated. I’ve always ALWAYS been a water baby – I think Daddy had us paddling in the pool before we could even walk and I’ve always felt at home in the water – so I just assumed that this would be easy. Even though the water didn’t exactly look like a caribbean sea…

I was wrong. I had an early morning training session with Clive Anderson – who was fantastic and even kindly suggested I might benefit from reading this training manual…

He was really gentle with me and an absolute fund of knowledge…

 

But it was much much harder than i’d thought! I should have thought more of it when he asked if I was claustrophobic… When I got in the lake and set off to the nearest boy I was completely amazed to find that I was short of breath, actually I seemed unable to breathe out into the water. It was totally weird. Apparently it’s not uncommon and partly due to the cold, partly due to the darkness of the water and the newness of the experience.

 

Anyway at least I’ve learnt that i need to forget all my “pool swimming” technique, learn to be much more economical and accept that I naturally veer to the right.

The most significant lesson seems to be that clearly I just shouldn’t go training without Alice… It might not be obvious from my face, but I have to say the experience didn’t fill me with positive thoughts – swimming 350m seemed like a massive achievement let alone 11.5 miles! But I guess at least this just makes it a real challenge! Alice is coming with me next weekend – so I’m looking forward to a much more fun and invigorating swim 🙂 Fingers crossed 😉 !!

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An amazing weekend of Sunshine, Stretching and Slipstreaming with Cycling Plus Weekenders

Last weekend training began in earnest. We had thought it was just going to be a nice relaxing break in the Cotswolds with a bit of cycling and yoga thrown in.

We had NO IDEA.

There must have been nearly 100 seemingly pro-cyclists, with snazzy matching outfits, clip-on shoes and bikes laden with hydration bottles and energy gels and… us with our strappy tops, back-to-front shorts (long story!) and single bottle of unmodified water. We got seriously burnt, seriously hungry and properly exhausted, but we met some inspiring people and had the best weekend we’ve had for ages!

We feel so lucky to have this challenge to train for and focus on. I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without it. Daddy has always been such a massive part of our lives… And the world certainly feels much emptier place without him, but in the midst of everything he continues to be an inspiration. It is really wonderful to be able to continue an adventure, which feels all about him and which he was so excited to help us plan. Daddy, I certainly hope you’ll be watching over us in August…  and making sure the wind is blowing in the right direction 😉

We are very grateful to Cycling Plus for such an awesome weekend at Heythrop Park, which was a perfect venue combining elegance and functionality in a rather unusual way. When we were cycling home I certainly noticed that the drive is exceptionally long.

A few weeks ago I never would have believed that I could cycle 100 (hilly!) miles in one weekend. And by lunch-time on day two, with 25 miles still to go (into a 14mph headwind) It was pretty hard not to ask to be taken home in the van!

But the feeling when we finished was fantastic… Optimistically we are already looking forward to a similar feeling on the 7th September 🙂

We also learnt quite a few things, but most importantly that:-

  1. We have actually been wearing our bib-shorts back-to-front!
  2. Slip-streaming (sharing the burden of a headwind) is a very useful trick. We now just need a string of volunteers to come and lead our daily rides and bear the brunt of the wind-resistance for us – any takers please do get in touch!
  3. We need clip on shoes
  4. There is a reason why all the other cyclists wore sleeves
  5. It is possible to drink and cycle at the same time
  6. Sports nutritionists struggle with the concept of “vegetarian”
  7. If you think you are too exhausted to continue – eat a whole box of jaffa cakes!
  8. Yoga is a life-saver and dreaming of our post cycle session was the only thing that kept us going. Thank you Lorna Chapman for the excellent classes!
  9. CNP, according to their founder (former British bodybuilding Champion Kerry Kayes), is the ‘only’ manufacturer of protein supplements in the UK that has any kind of effective quality control. If you are starving, their lemon meringue flapjack actually tastes reasonably good.
  10. Apparently it is possible to be an endurance athlete without consuming any carbohydrate – using the ketogenic diet… I’m not sure we were convinced by that one…

It was a milestone weekend and we are so happy to have survived it. Apparently the the group leader generously reported that we had “great potential” – Although I’m not sure whether that was meant to be a compliment or a reflection of our current ineptitude…

THANK YOU CYCLING PLUS!!!

We are already getting ‘excited’ (or terrified!) about our 3km swim in ten days time… fingers crossed for another heatwave!

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