Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Olympics...I love it....

Two days into the Olympic coverage and already I don't want to leave the house, sleep or train. How amazing it must be to be talented enough to be representing your country in a sport that you love and excel in and to top it all you're surrounded by the rest of the world's best athletes. The lure of the medals... the possibilities of winning Gold, to be able to say you were there, that you're an Olympian, it's amazing, just amazing. We've got two friends competing in Beijing. Liz Yelling the marathon runner and Alistair Brownlee the triathlete. Just before Liz went out to the holding camp in Macau I rang her up to wish her luck and asked her how it felt to be able to be out there because she was one of the best in the world in her sport. Amazingly she said she hadn't really thought about it in that way. I guess when you train so hard and your regime is mostly done in your own backyard you can forget how good you actually are. Even in highly acclaimed races the best aren't always there to compete. However, when you go to the Olympics it's because you are one of the best, and the Olympics brings out the best and the worst in athlete's performances. I love it, I love seeing excellence and and I love seeing people give it their all.

Today we watched our friend Andrea give her all when we went to the London Triathlon to support her. It was Andrea's first olympic distance triathlon. It's such a scary thought when you look at how far the swim is in those smelly dirty Thames but Andrea's been fantastic. With her mad keen sister-in-law Jo and now with AKJ and Flapps also on board this crazy triathlon train Andrea has conquered her fear of swimming, got out on her bike and gradually increased her running. Out of all three of the Team Southern's clan I never ever thought that Andrea would be interested in doing a triathlon and so to watch her racing today smiling all of the way through (even with oily hands) and carry the well travelled Leeds flag over the line and then burst into tears when she finished was a huge moment. Today Andrea was no different to the Olympian who in their main race pushes themselves further than they thought possible and finishes completely spent. Andrea was every bit our Olympian today - her London Triathlon medal may not be made of gold, silver or bronze but I'm sure it means just as much to her because it represents every ounce of hard work that she's put in over the last year. Well done Andrea, we're so proud of you. x

So, what have I been up to in training this week? I'm thoroughly enjoying the change in pace in training at the moment. I'm concentrating on trying to find some speed in the old legs which Ironman training seems to have stolen and that has been a big shock to the system. My heart has felt like it might burst out of my ribcage on one or more ocassions and my legs moan when I try and turn them over any faster than my usual Ironman shuffle pace but I'm loving it. We're swimming, running and cycling much harder but shorter more intense sessions and I'm having to remember to stay switched on for the whole session instead of allowing my endurance to tick over while I wonder what to make for dinner. On Tuesday we had our club Ten Mile Time Trial. The bike has been my weakest link since I started this game and I still have many demons to contend with as I learn and grow as a cyclist but I have started to learn how to hurt and how to push myself on the bike so I went into Tuesdays race wanting that exact feeling. Irrespective of the outcome or time I just wanted to feel like I had pushed myself as hard as possible for those ten measly miles. Not quite what I felt like at exactly 7.15miles I tell you. I had the devil telling me to just back it off for a little bit and as I saw my heart rate drop I nearly gave in to my legs telling my brain they were tired, they had had enough and wanted to just spin home thank you very much. Thankfully I only allowed this dip to be temporary, because there is no room in such a short race for backing it off so on I pushed hoping that I could just give a little more until I saw that chequered board when all the pain can come to an end. And on that typical gritty Yorkshire day I managed 26.06 knocking a whole minute off last years time and becoming LBT's ladies club time trial champion.

A great week of hard, intense work and three more to follow before The Vitruvian on the 6th September. I'm really looking forward to it. Time now to get to bed though as we were up at 4am this morning to drive to London and only got back about an hour ago. Up at 5am for the usual swim so sleep I must have.

Well done again to Team Southern's, you're all fab. AKJ, your turn next ;) And also a huge well done to our friends from the gym Khara, Alison, Hannah, Nathan and Alan who all raced in London today too.

Night night.

H. x

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