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The Off-Season. Sleep goes MIA. Pt I.

So here I am, gone 01:00 in the morning on a school night, writing a blog about my inability to sleep. 

I could take the view that lying there with my eyes shut, at least trying to sleep is better than giving into the blue light of my Mac.  However, if I did that I would only be counting down the hours until I needed to be up.  In fact, my alarm is set for 06:00.  So, if I was to fall asleep right here, right now, I would be getting circa. 4.5 hours sleep.  I would therefore be laying there going over in my head how tired I am going to be tomorrow, how unproductive I will be at work, how clumsy I’ll inevitably be, how much more stressful I will find the day and how training will be of a reduced quality.  I am therefore effectively just putting these concerns to paper.  Trying to get them off my chest. 

So rather than laying there fretting, I am sat up, typing to my unidentifiable subscribers.  I’ve been here before and no doubt I will be here again. 

This is a side effect of trying to maintain jam packed days, weeks and months.  The gram shows my fun filled days; it doesn’t show the restless nights.  Nightmare. 

Whilst I am exhausted, I certainly need sleep to function at work, think clearly and be productive it is also SO important for my body to recover from training, sometimes I just can’t.  I do a lot of training and in theory I therefore need a lot of sleep.  So, there we have a problem.  

Because I know it’s a problem, I worry about it more and therefore don’t sleep because I’m worrying about that whilst also thinking about the rent review I have to instigate in the morning, the some £6 million pound valuation still sitting on my desk with an imminent deadline and the 30 new emails that have appeared in my inbox since leaving the office at 17:30.  I love my job but would rather switch off at this time in the morning.

A lot of people complain when they haven’t achieved their solid 8 hours in.  8 hours would be amazing.  As would be 6 hours.  I would say when everything is going well for me, 7 to 8 hours is a bonus.  So then when you put 3 hours into the equation for consecutive nights, it is interesting.  

Whilst in theory, off season should be giving my (mind) body (and soul) a chance to recover and build ahead of 2020, my head has other ideas.  

To be continued when I have put some more thought into constructive sleep content, after I have had a good night’s sleep… 

Night (hopefully). 

Xoxo. 

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Concluding Remarks.

My dating memoirs were intended to provide a three-part insight into my mundane dating life which is squeezed in around hours of training/work/pals/adulting.  Largely because I have not actually been on that many dates (the ones I have been on have just gone tits up or are not worth writing about) for many reasons (lack of time/laziness/a love for triathlons over men/stubborn independence). 

However, I am being pestered for conclusions to each of my tales.  I thought that it was all quite self-explanatory – evidently I am an independent lady (sometimes).  

For clarification: 

Dating Disasters Part I. 

I assume he still has my jumper (which I will miss this winter).  I never heard from him again.  Not surprising given my diabolical behaviour.  Although I would like my jumper back.  Not hinting 

Lesson learnt: Don’t get so pissed next time and always retain personal possessions. 

Dating Disasters. Part II. 

Possibly the most tragic of them all.  I was sacked off (equivalent of being dumped when you aren’t actually in a relationship in the first place) via text (pusssaaaaayyy) which I received whilst I had my head stuck down the toilet.  I wish I could say I was hungover after an epic party.  It was an epic party but unfortunately, I was just revoltingly ill.  Poor timing.  Not his fault.  Still horrendous though.  It was a Monday as well (Sunday night christening diva).  Absolute shocker.  I decided it was probably Karma biting me in the arse so took it on the chin. 

Lesson learnt: Not entirely sure.  I would probably have drunk more the night before to try and flush it out my system.  There’s not much G&T can’t fix. 

Dating Disasters. Part III. 

I think that was pretty well concluded.  I did check that he got home safely.  Apparently it was a rather expensive journey – c.20 miles at 23:00, I don’t really know what he expected. 

Lesson learnt: If someone says they’re 6’ they’re probably lying.  Otherwise I think my halo was still in one piece after this encounter. 

So there we are for all you nosey parkers.  Concluded.

For all dating enquiries, DM me but be warned, I’m running low on off-season blog content.  

Anyway, if you’d like to be featured on my blog, are tall dark and handsome with a good sense of adventure, have the patience of a saint, enjoy good food and wine, aren’t easily offended, not too needy/aren’t offended if I don’t talk to you for most of the week and are willing to see me on my own terms as and when I please then drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do/if I can (want) fit you in.  

079ME.

Principally, I need some material to bash out another blog post. 

Priorities. 

Xoxo. 

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Dating Disasters. Part III.

For once, I was on best behaviour.  Polishing my halo. 

I found myself being invited to the cinema. The cinema is the WORST idea for a first date. The purpose of a first date is to interrogate and determine whether the other person is worth wasting anymore time on.  I had little else to do so I went along with it but suggested dinner first. 

As with most cinemas, there is normally a Nando’s or similar chain restaurant across the car park.  So, logically we decided to meet there.  He booked the cinema in advance, to avoid disappointment. 

First impressions: Apparently he is 6’. I thought I was say 5’5” ish.  However, I must have grown since my last measurement.  Fine, everyone loves an optimist.  

Dinner was fine.  Conversation was pretty good.  He was training for an Ironman *tick*, enjoyed extreme sports *tick*, well-read *tick*, good sense of humour *tick*.  Basically, he had a lot going for him. Impressive.  6’ lie just a distant memory. 

Half-way through my chicken burger, he admitted to having booked the wrong cinema.  Excellent.  It was “just a short drive away” rather than across the car park.  Completely defeated the object.  Anyway.

So far, not too bad despite minor hiccups. 

Walking out of the restaurant he broke the news that he didn’t have a car.  Good job one of us did.  Commented on my very impressive driving and reversing skills (for a woman).  He was full of compliments.  Must have been after something.  Suspicious. 

I then endured the entirety of The Lion King with my hand being caressed and my thigh being stroked.  Like, don’t get me wrong, I am not a complete prude, but OMG A PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION IS JUST NOT MY BAG.  In public, just don’t touch me.  

My hand was then held out of the cinema and his face was abnormally close to my face as we stood in line, in the car park, for the ticket machine.   MY SPACE.  YOUR SPACE.  I’m not 16, I’m not about to SNOG you in the middle of a car park.  Apparently, this made me ‘classy’.  Presumably this was a complement.  Yes, that would be another one.  He was definitely up to no good.  Life hack; being nice gets you nowhere. 

I have no idea what vibe I was giving off other than being my awkward self but conveniently HE MISSED HIS TRAIN HOME.  Wonderful.  Funny that.  The film HE booked finished at 23:00 and the last train departed just after 22:30.  

So, I dropped him outside the nearest taxi rank.  Nice to meet you, byeeeeeeee. 

He was actually a nice guy and I am probably painting him in a very poor light but: 1) Social contact is a big no-no for me.  Hugs, hand holding etc.  Get off me and preferably stay 10 steps behind;  2) Get a car because public transport in the Midlands is not to be relied upon and I’m no taxi; and 3) 5’ something, not 6’. It’s not a secret.  

I’ve retired from dating until I need more content.  Over and Out.

Xoxo. 

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Dating Disasters. Part II.

You will be very pleased to know that this was not a complete disaster.  I mean the ending is still tragic, but I had a great time. Above average company.  

Date 1.  Bouldering/Rock Climbing. 
In hindsight, this was probably not the best idea after a 2,800m swim set in the morning followed by an 80km (hilly) bike ride.  I had burnt c.3,000 calories before lunch and had not consumed as many. Sugar levels were into the minuses.  I had a minor case of the shakes – nerves combined with low sugar levels and a high caffeine intake are not recommended.  I was basically vibrating. 

Time was pretty tight. I turned up with slightly damp hair and a ‘fresh face’ after manically turning myself around off the bike.  I would say I was ‘glowing’ (still slightly sweating after no cool down).  Actively trying to avoid any sort of physical contact due to my ‘glow’ (sweat).  I had the dilemma of whether to keep my jumper on and enhance my ‘glow’ or to take it off and just embrace my now very clingy t-shirt.  So, there I was; sweating, with damp hair, basic make-up which I had applied at the traffic lights down the road and with a mild case of the shakes.  Oh, I was also wearing a new jumper and you know how new jumpers like to malt, everywhere? So, I was also covered in a sort of a black fluff which helped to cover-up my artistically applied (patchy) fake tan. I like to make a good first impression.  

I was very good at rock climbing.  NAHT.  I failed the belay test so had to stay in the children’s area.  Bit awkward really.  Haven’t been back since. 

Somehow, I made the cut for a few more dates after this one.  Impressive, I know.  I think I got the sympathy card. 

The dates could only get better after this one… anyway, he persevered. 

Not sure how many ‘dates’ we had been on, but I had this great idea that I would amaze him with my culinary skills one evening.  The fact he made it past my front door is a momentous occasion in itself.  Congrats. 

Ingredients were prepped, mid cooking (with wine) and there is this almighty wail.  There they were, the smoke alarm’s (plural) ruining the moment. Can’t even pull the batteries out because they are connected to the mains.  Not that I could reach them to pull the batteries out anyway – short girl problems.      

Not just one smoke alarm but two of them wailing.  So, there I was, running between the two, manically flapping a tea-towel trying to calm them down then resorting to balancing on the banister with one foot, trying to reach (hit) the main culprit.  Meanwhile, the hob was still on (fml) and I had smoked us out.  The duck was 100% cooked.  

I don’t think he was overly impressed with my Thai Penang Curry with (crispy) Duck.  I mean, you’ve got to love a tryer.  At least I provided some decent evening entertainment.  Clutching at straws here.

I try my hardest to deliver my best self but sometimes she just ain’t havin’ none of it.  I did try to coax her out with some more wine et. al.but this only made things worse.  It was a slippery slope.  

Fortunately, I made swimming training in the morning (08:00 start with a 07:00 alarm on a Sunday). One thing I do not recommend is swimming with a hangover after little sleep.   Poolside is very hot.  Swimming hats exasperate a headache and if you need to be sick, well, you can’t really.  I was in a very difficult situation.  I also had to endure the banter from the occupant of the adjoining lane who found the situation rather amusing; at least someone did! 

Other than a brick training session (also awful on a hangover) I spent the rest of the day wallowing around in my own self-pity (hangover).

Another day, another hangover.

Xoxo.   

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Dating Disasters. Part I.

I initially promised you a laugh at my expense. Whilst working around a full-time job, full on training schedule and meeting friends, I attempt to be a ‘normal’ 26 year-old singleton and strip off my lycra, put some make-up on and see what the market-place has to offer. 

I would like to point out that whilst this is none of your business, I am choosing to write this blog so inevitably I will be judged. That is my decision. Whilst I think women should be able to date, snog, sleep with whoever and whenever they please without being branded; I choose not to. Therefore, when you are reading this, don’t all think I am up to no good. Since becoming a strong independent female (c. 15 months ago), I have only been on more than one date with three people and on more than two dates with two people (of those three people).  I am not doing the rounds although I am sure that would be fun. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, energy or patience.  So don’t make those assumptions. 

As I said, this is none of your business but unfortunately, we live in a world where us innocent females are subject to being branded a sl*t where our male counterparts are awarded the ‘lad title’. I have respect for both. Have fun, be safe. Why not?!

So, here goes. A 26-year-old female unleashed. 

I promise to keep it confidential and tasteful (where possible). 

I am quite fussy over who I spend my time with, so I tend to go for honesty is the best policy. If there is no hope, I won’t mince my words. Gotta be cruel to be kind. I mean, I’ve not actually been on that many dates, but you get my vibe. If you make the cut for round two, you’re doing pretty well in terms of exceeding my expectations and in finding availability in my busy schedule. Decent of me, I know. 

THE DATE.

I will refer to subject as ‘B’ for GDPR reasons (DM me for specifics).

After a 06:00 morning training session, 8 hour day in the office, Date 1 went very well although pretty standard. Dinner etc. I prefer something more active but got to take what you can get these days. The steak was good, and the chat was easy, nothing too taxing. I mean, I came away thinking I’d give him a second chance which surprised me as I had reliable background knowledge etc. 

Date 2. So, I had a GREAT TIME. Date 1 we met halfway, date 2, he picked me up and again we went for food and as I wasn’t driving, I insisted we had a few drinks.  Obvs he was driving so his consumption was limited to a diet coke (or two) and pizza. In my usual fashion, I talked and talked between eating copious amounts of pizza and apparently being drip-fed red wine. The dream. Pizza and a bottle of red on a Friday evening accompanied by a standard tall dark and handsome, life was good. 

All was going swimming(in red wine)ly.  He was laughing, I was laughing.  We went to leave and the next thing I know is that I am flat on my back.  I was still laughing.  He was NOT still laughing.  More eye-rolling.  Naturally, I had made more of an effort.  Sexy top, tight jeans, heels etc.  Heels are a bad idea.  I, no exaggeration, skidded about 5 ft. across the apparently slippery floor of the pizza restaurant and fell flat on my back. Yes, that would be in front of about 20 people and my date.  Sexy outfit not looking so sexy when you are lying on your back, in the middle of a packed pizza joint. 

So, what do you do in this situation? 

You pick yourself up, brush yourself down and suggest heading to the next bar.  Great idea.

Which we did. He enjoyed (was forced to have) another couple of non-alcoholic beverages and I had another fishbowl or two of red wine.  Said bar had live music.  B was not keen for a dance, despite my best efforts to persuade him otherwise and at this point I was taken home.  Good idea because my dancing ability is unfortunate.

Journey home was not overly memorable (not sure if it was uneventful, I passed out or I was just extra pissed).  However, once he had pulled up outside the flat, I had come to the conclusion that we (I) had a GREAT night and that we should 100% go on a third date. 

I conveniently left my jumper in his car (me subconsciously trying to secure said third date). 

I never saw that jumper again. 

Possibly not my finest hour but at least I find myself amusing.  

Next instalment to follow. 

Xoxo. 

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#NANONTOUR. Part I, II and III.

For the past three years, my Nan and I have been touring the cities of Italy. 2017 we spent four days in Venice (our favourite), 2018 we travelled to Rome and Florence and this year, we have just landed back from Verona.

We feel that we blend in with the elegant and glamours Italian locals; excellent sense of style, olive skin tone, generally a 10/10 etc. We also find that the Italian lifestyle fits nicely with ours, coffee and croissants in the morning, wine/aperol spritz by lunch to wash down a slice of pizza, mid afternoon wine stop followed by another fine Italian dining experience. Plus more wine.

Nan and I have a lot in common; a love for shopping, drinking, eating and talking. As you can imagine, Italy has the first three in abundance. The conversation is slightly more difficult due to the language barrier. Nan’s limited Italian limits her ability to talk to random passers by, this does not tend to stop her trying. If all else fails, I am her main audience and biggest fan.

Nan excels in her conversation skills, something which I had thought was one of my strengths. However, she certainly puts me to shame. I therefore treat these breaks as training camps. Maybe I will be as good as her one day.

We do find ourselves in some situations. Coupled with her persistent nattering, Nan suffers from Macular Degeneration which effectively results in sight lost over a period of time. I am therefore her eyes, her ears and she tends to be the voice.

It’s very easy to get lost abroad, particularly in Venice when you have a map in one hand, bag in the other, Nan in my right ear and a tour which was departing in less than 5 mins and google maps was saying you were 10 mins away. So there we were running along the canals of Venice, Nan noting that she would have brought her sports bra out of retirement had she known my intention to go everywhere 100mph and yet again we got to another dead end without a bridge to cross. Inevitably the tour was the other side of this particular canal. This was about the 5th dead end we’d come to whilst trying to find this particular meeting place. My navigation skills were questionable and my patience dwindling. At which point, Nan acknowledges that she thought we might be lost. My phone battery promptly died. No sh*t Sherlock. Fortunately we made the tour departure as I elbowed through the crowds in St. Marks Square with Nan in tow. Both hot and flustered. Not quite the elegant ladies I had in my mind, graciously strolling around the Venetian streets. As you see in magazines.

Rome was not too eventful, other than getting caught in a complete downpour. Neither of us had an umbrella or a rain coat. I was wearing a white T-shirt and obviously being on holiday, it’s Sunday attire. Classic. A generous man gave me his umbrella. Unfortunately the damage was already done and my dignity was a distant memory. Looking back, he would have been better giving me his rain coat, not that generous. Again, not the elegant, fashion icons I envisaged us to be. Free the nipple is a feminist movement, meant to make you feel empowered?! Anyway, we were getting too much attention, Nan and I went back to the apartment and used the hairdryer to dry ourselves and on we went with our day, heads held high.

Florence was beautiful, as were the waiters who we managed to sweet talk into providing us with bottomless Prosecco and Pizza. Gustrium Firenze are very welcoming and I would highly recommend checking them out if you ever venture to the city. Best pizza in town. The steak was also pretty yum.

Verona you were also pretty decent. In the other cities, the men try to give you roses. They then demand money for the pleasure of this. Nan attracts the rose bearers. In Verona, we attracted two gladiators who asked if they could have a picture with us. I assumed because we were two glamorous ladies (not that we look at all like tourists), gracing the Veronese streets and why wouldn’t they want a picture with us?! One was rather rugged looking. Not my type exactly but nan keeps telling me I am too fussy. They then promptly asked for cash. Romance is dead and my holiday romance was over as fast as it had started.

The last night we went for dinner. After a few Aperol Spritz, we decided a bottle of Soave was better value than a glass. The walk back was fun. Mainly because Nan doesn’t need any further vision impairment and wine doesn’t exactly improve this, her chosen footwear were some ‘very comfortable’ flip-flops which are great if you wanted to skate across the marble pavements after a downpour. So we linked arms and I attempted to carry us back (my vision was also slightly impeded). We lived the tell the tale.

Nan has requested Lake Garda next year where we can do wine tasting, pasta making and tours. I think she’s looking for a quieter life. Rather than the 20,000 steps/day city break where I drag her to the highest point to watch the sunset and up as many steps for a panoramic view. I agreed that would be perfect, we could go open water swimming, do yoga to the sun rise, venture out on some paddle boards and climb a mountain for sun set.

Silence.

Xoxo.

N.B. This is only a snippet of our holiday memoirs. After all, what goes on tour stays on tour!

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2019 Season, Over and Out.

So, if you have been keeping up with my ramblings, you will know that Sunday was my last race of my first triathlon season.  It has been one hell of a summer, I have loved (almost) every moment. 

I topped it off with a 3rd in my age group (25-29) and 12th overall female. The swim was tough and I ended up well off course (my first sea swim), the bike was flat and fast (with 16 dead turns) and the run was full-steam ahead until 6.5km when everything got a bit wavey. It was hot and 4 laps up and down the Brighton seafront was mentally draining. I was glad to cross the finish line and pleased with my time and placing (although 2nd place was SO near, yet so far – why did I go so far off course in the swim. Live and learn!). 

This season, my maiden season, has been my best summer yet. To summarise, I have completed 5 triathlons (3 standard distance, 2 sprint distance), achieved 4 ‘podium positions’ in my AG (1 x win, 1 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd), one 5th place and automatic qualification for the 2020 European and World Triathlon Championships. Not so bad for a bit of beginners luck! 

Joking aside, this has not been just my doing. I am incredibly lucky to have such a dedicated and patient coach, Sam from Amphibian Triathlon Coaching, who has put up with not only my continuous chat but my persistent messaging over all platforms (Whatsapp, text, iMessage and Training Peaks). He goes along with my grand plans and has helped turn them into reality. Just this January I decided that I wanted to qualify for the European Championships. Instead of laugh and tell me not to run before I could walk, he put together a plan which has enabled me to more than achieve my goals. Not only have we qualified for the European Triathlon Championships but also the World Triathlon Championships. He takes into account that I am a 26 year old female who wants (attempts to have) a social life, who has a full time professional career and who can be slightly irrational and stubborn. There has been no pressure, just a lot of support, guidance and patience (with the occasional eye roll when I push my luck!). Thank you! 

Furthermore, my family who have backed me from the beginning when they drove 200 miles to support me at the Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon back in 2018 and who have attended every race since. Not only are they there to support me during races but they are at the end of the phone both day and night. My Mum who has put up with me ignoring phone calls for weeks on end to then be inundated with missed calls when everything seems to go wrong at once and I need help picking up the pieces. My dad who keeps me in the real world, who is leaning to become my professional photographer (work in progress), who has the patience of a saint to put up with my mum and I and who is possibly the kindest man I know. My Nan who talks incessantly and fills me in on all her gossip. I always come of the phone with a smile on my face.  Thank you for coming to all my races and being my number one fan. Grandad, I have no idea how you have coped with this constant chitter chatter for all these years! 

Owen, my brother, you are ok but I intend to become a faster cyclist that you. Thanks for helping me buy my first bike and for not being so annoying anymore. You’re ok. 

I am also incredibly lucky to have some amazing friends. I am sorry I can’t speak to you all as frequently as I would like. Sometimes after a mornings training session, a full day of work followed by another training session, I just don’t want to talk to anyone. All I want to do is eat, sleep and read a book. Despite this, you have all stood by me and understood. I was warned that in this world of triathlon training, friends drop like flies but you have all stuck around, despite my dwindling communication skills. A massive thank you for this, for being there and for supporting me. Going forwards, I will try to be less selfish.

I have also made some great friends who put up with my nattering through training sessions; Beckie and Tim, sorry for messing up all your rest intervals during swimming.  I try to cram as much chat into the 10 seconds rest as possible, I occasionally over-run. Thank you also for (trying) to educate me on my bikes – in terms of riding them and also looking after them. 

Without this support network around me, I would not be able to pursue this ‘hobby’. Without triathlon I wouldn’t have realised how loyal all these people are and for that, I am incredibly grateful and feel very loved. 

Now to a month of no structure before knuckling down for the 2020 season ahead and boy, I cannot wait! Safe to say, I am committed. 

Aeroplane mode is on as I head to Verona with my Nan. Laterssssss. 

Xoxo. 

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Leeds Castle Triathlon.

My second ever standard distance race and a World Championship Qualifier. Obviously, I wasn’t there for a fun day out. I wanted to qualify for the World Championships being held in Edmonton, Canada 2020. 

Dragged along all my fans. Mum, Dad, Nan, Owen (brother) and Ellie (Expected to be sister-in-law).  They loved the 3:40AM start. Particularly when I left my tri-suit at home and Dad had to get up maybe just a little bit early to bring it in time. Essential bit of kit.  

Weather was HOT and the course will hilly! Since Southport, Celia joined Team White. Celia is a Cervelo P3 time-trial bike and oh my dais, she is SO SEXY. Just a complete worldie to be honest with you. I am punching. I don’t know what she sees in me. I’m very lucky to have her. (Sorry for the cringe chat, I find it entertaining.)

This was our first race together and she is built for flat and straight courses.  Leeds castle was not overly flat so potentially not the best maiden voyage for us both. 

Swim was strong. Quite technical, around Leeds Castle Moat and included a run in start which was new. I was third out of the swim and out of T1. Had a shocker of a T1. My shoe fell off my bike. Not ideal but we did well. 

Celia dug deep and stormed the bike, a good performance despite the hills and carrying a novice jockey.

The run. Oh hell, the run.  It hurts me to even think back to the run. I still don’t know how I finished.  The course was cross country and hilly.  Cross country through hay meadows and woodland. I am asthmatic and suffer from hay fever. The worst combination together with a humid summers day. Physically I shouldn’t have made the finish line. I lost two places over the course of the run. My HR was over 200bpm and I was struggling for oxygen. Y’know. The essentials. Owen ran the last 200m alongside me and I promptly keeled over the line. 

I thought I had dropped from second place to fifth or sixth on the run. Only the top four qualify. 

This was emotional. During and after this event, I got a taste of what it feels like to miss out on something you have dedicated SO much time and all your emotion to. I finished feeling like I had had my heart broken. Both physically and metaphorically. 

Turns out I actually qualified in fourth place. 

Despite the reasonably positive outcome, I have taken form this race that it is not always going to be plain sailing and everything (heart, lungs and legs) were screaming at me to stop. Except my head. My head had other ideas and that is what prevailed. I set my mind to finishing and come hell or high water, whilst I was conscious, I was sure as hell going over the finish line.

I learnt a huge amount in this race, about technique and also about myself and my ability to push myself harder. 

Two races down, the start of the season and I qualified for both the World and European Triathlon Championships.  The beginner ain’t done so bad!

This coming weekend (15th Sept) I am finishing my season at Brighton and Hove Triathlon.

Heres to applying what I have learnt to my race this weekend and praying that my asthma keeps its ugly head at bay.  That is one thing I am still working on; learning how to breath. Life’s essential hacks.  

Fingers crossed, touch-wood, break-a-leg and all that jazz. 

Brighton and Hove, I am coming for you I am just not sure I am ready for the season to end! 

Xoxo. 

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Tri Lingo.

So you all know what I am chatting about so I have provided you with my interpretation of the triathlete terminology.

N.B. This is where my maturity level regresses.

Fartlek Training: 

Phhaaaaa. FARTlek. FART. 

Anyway.  It means speed play and is a Swedish term. So during a run I will add random fast efforts and then slow ones.  Basically interval training but less structured.  

Bonking:

My favourite. Hilarious. Essentially running out of energy mid race or during training. Torq, one of my sponsors, uses the slogan #unbonkable which again, I find hilarious. This is because the use of their products will mean you never bonk. 

If someone told me back in the real world that I was un-bonkable, I would be offended. However, on a race day I really really don’t wan’t to be bonking. 

Anyway, back to the serious business… 

‘A’ Race: 

Most important race of the season. 

Brick session: 

When you ‘brick two or more disciplines together. e.g. a bike into a run. 

Drafting: 

Where you tuck in closely behind another rider, making the most of their slip-stream and enabling you to expend less energy, to the tune of up to a 27 percent reduction in wind resistance. All my races have been and going forwards are NOT likely to be draft legal.  However, given the obvious benefits of drafting, there are competitors who will try to get away with this when there are no marshals to witness it. There are some dirty tactics the lead rider can play in this scenario including firing a snot rocket. I would never dream of such a thing. 

Ironman (one day I will be an Iron(wo)man in full): 

  • 70.3: 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike, and a 21.1 km run
  • Full Iron:  3.86km swim, 180.25 km bike and a marathon (42.20 km) run

It takes over your life but how amazing would it be to complete! There’s a guy called James Lawrence (aka. The Iron Cowboy). He completed (the equivalent to) 50 full Irons in 50 days, over 50 states. INSANE. I just think he is amazing. Mind-blown.

Sprint distance triathlon: 

Typically a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run

Standard distance triathlon: 

1,500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run. 

Standard distance is where I am hoping to place all my eggs over the next 12 months. 

Taper: 

Reducing your training in the lead up to your race to enable you to deliver your peak performance. 

Transition (T1 and T2): 

  • T1 is where you change from swimming to the bike.  So, out the water take off your swim hat, goggles and wetsuit where (hopefully) you have your triathlon suit underneath.  At which point you will have found your bike within the jungle, put on your cycling helmet, glasses and number.  You then pick up your bike from the rack and run to the mount line (bare foot).  Jump onto your bike, jam your feet into your shoes and away you go (all things going to plan). This is probably the hardest transition as you are often cold and slightly disorientated out of the water and getting a wetsuit off is no easy task! So how quick can you strip?!
  • T2 is the bike into the run.  In an ideal world, you will have taken your feet out of your shoes and be cruising into the mount line with just one leg on the bike ready to touch down with the other.  So both legs the same side of the bike. Jump off ahead of the mount line and (again, bare foot) run with your bike to your position in the rack. Rack your bike BEFORE touching your helmet.  Then remove your helmet and glasses (unless you wear them on the run) and then slip on your trainers (this is where elastic laces help) and off you go. 

TT: 

A time trial bike is a racing bike designed for use in an individual race on roads. You are only allowed to use these bikes in NON draft-legal races and therefore, reducing aerodynamic drag of the bike and rider is important. Celia is my new TT Bike, she’s very sexy. Not legal for drafting due to where your controls are and your position.  You would not be able to respond as quickly if the person infront of you drops the anchor. 

Turbo Trainer/Turbo: 

A gadget I strap the back wheel of my bike to the enables me to ride inside/stationary.  It is good for interval sessions or when the weather outside is frightful. This is where Netflix comes in. 

Netflix and Chill (Turbo) anyone?!

Xoxo. 

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Ignorance is Bliss.

My Triathlon Life Story – cont. 

From 1st January 2019, I was taken under Sam’s wing. I have gone into triathlon wanting to see what I can achieve in 12 months and with the intention of giving that 12 months 110% commitment.  If at the end of 12 months I had achieved nothing, I would call it a day. On the other hand, if I achieved what I set out to achieve, I would re-assess. 

Sam and I mapped out my 2019 sporting calendar: 

  • *19th May 2019: Southport National Triathlon Championships and European Triathlon (ETU)Championship Qualifier
  • 1st June 2019: Blenheim Palace Sprint Triathlon
  • *30th June 2019: Leeds Castle Triathlon and World Triathlon (ITU) Championship Qualifier 
  • 4th August 2019: Prudential Ride London 100 
  • 1st September 2019: Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon
  • *15th September 2019: Brighton and Hove Triathlon and European Triathlon Championship Qualifier

*are what we refer to as my ‘A Races’. These are key events which my training is structured around and which require tapering. Essentially, tapering is reducing exercise (quantity/intensity) leading up to an event in order to reduce muscle fatigue and optimise performance. The others I just put myself through for lols and Sam just rolls his eyes. 

As a general rule of thumb, since January, my weeks contain 8-12 hours of training and include 1 rest day. 

I can hear y’all yawning from here! Chill, I love it. I’ll train and you guys can just come along for the ride.

19th May came around pretty quickly.  January – May ’19 mainly comprised eating, sleeping and training.  I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol for the 6 weeks leading up to the event (not that I can remember and if you can’t remember, it doesn’t count). I told you, the whole thing is a test of endurance and self preservation! 

At this point, I had slightly more gear and slightly more idea.  I had invested in a wetsuit AND elastic laces (both essential items).  I thought that I was almost starting to look the part. Until I arrived.

I rocked up to registration with my treasured second-hand road bike (Roubaix). He was soooo unimpressed being racked next to a very fancy Specialized Shiv (just a c.£11k time-trial (TT) bike).  I imagine he feels like I do when I stand next to my tall, tanned, gorgeous friend; short, stumpy and pale. Poor Roubaix is perfect in my eyes (although he is slightly heavy and slow but I don’t like to tell him that, it might hurt his feelings).  

Southport was my second ever triathlon and my first ever standard (olympic) distance event. I was competing against athletes who had already proven themselves at European and World level for a number of seasons.  I had just scraped together four full months training and this was the start of my first season. I genuinely had no idea what to expect and when I arrived, it was far more daunting that what I had imagined. Not only was it larger than I expected but other athletes had equipment I didn’t event know existed. I was pretty basic. 

Before arriving at Southport, I had hopes of a top four placing which would ultimately enable me to automatically qualify for the European Championships.  After seeing the obviously very experienced athletes prepare with all their equipment, I had doubts. I really was a complete beginner and felt like a complete imposter. 

However, after an optimistic three hours sleep, a strong swim (including a mass open water start with 240 people in one pack), excellent performance from Roubaix (despite a head wind) and a pretty decent run, I qualified for the European Championships being held in Tartu, Estonia 2020. 

I achieved third place but missed my spot on the podium – I didn’t realise I had achieved a podium position until they posted my bronze medal the following week! 

Safe to say, it put a good amount of fire in my belly for the season ahead and set my own expectations pretty high! 

Pressure for the rest of the season was on. 

Xoxo. 

A special thanks at this event to my very loyal supporters: Mum, Dad, Nanny Lesley and Rebecca Oddy.  Mum was more stressed than me the morning of the event and Roddy helped keep me slightly sane and focussed. The scale of this event was new to all of us and emotions were running high.  Thank you all for putting up with a hot head. 

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A Christmas Cracker.

Believe it or not, I did take on board that, to an extent, my socialising had to be reduced.  Not only due to time restrictions but going out is expensive, as is triathlon. I couldn’t do both. Although I still have the occasional relapse. 

I maxed out on being a wild child ahead of January and decided that as soon as I left Shropshire and headed back home to Essex for the Christmas break, I would give myself some headspace and a bit of a detox – bad time of year; I know! After a manic few months, I made no plans over the Christmas break, bar spending time with family. All good intentions.

I honestly had not spent a single weekend in my own company since June. Over five months of back to back weekends socialising and rinsing my bank balance (or lack of).

Safe to say, I suffered serious with-drawl symptoms. It was ridiculous. As the festive period is, I was surrounded by family the majority of the time but I was used to packing my days and weeks with activities, visiting friends and running around like a headless chicken. I had no idea how to cope with ‘down time’, relaxing or even simply being content in my own company. Even sitting down for 2 hours to watch a film stressed me out. In fact, it gave me anxiety.

I was dependant on having structure, having a plan and always being productive.  To an extent I still am, I struggle on my rest days but December 2018 forced me to sit back a re-assess my priorities. For the previous four years, my decisions in life had revolved around making someone else happy; without a second thought for myself.  The recent months had been spent trying to make up for this and catching up with all the friends I had neglected during these years but still, not thinking about what made me happy.  

New Years Eve I sat there, ready to go to a New Years Party with some old university friends. I couldn’t go because they are used to seeing someone who is full of life and I simply didn’t have the energy to be that person. I wasn’t ready to deal with the whole “back in the day, when you were fun … before you got a boyfriend…” and “the old Charlotte…”  So I didn’t go. 

Thats what confirmed my New Years Resolution: To be content in my own company and to be happy in my own skin. 

January 2019 saw the kick start of my training programme and I have not looked back. I am not sure if it is because it gives me structure and something to focus on outside of work or because I like the challenge and sense of achievement but either way, I love training. Weird. I know. 

I am now very content in my own company and more confident in my own skin.  Perhaps too much so as I am very reluctant to now sacrifice it but I am SO much happier and independent for it. 

It is so easy to get caught up in life’s whirl-wind and what social media portrays as the norm (Instagram stories of cocktails on a Friday/Saturday night, getting glammed up etc. – it is all fake (unless taking a boomerang of you sipping your drink is fun?!)). Honestly, everyone has their own lives to lead. My social media now spams everyone with training sessions and Celia (my bike) – it’s not staged, sometimes a bit minging but often heavily filtered (just for a perceived tan). Different people enjoy different things. We are all different, otherwise the world would be so boring. 

I like what I do. I (most of the time) like my job. I have amazing and much loved friends and family. I enjoy training. I LOVE Triathlon. 2019 has been pretty sweet (*touch wood*). I am very lucky to be where I am today, doing what I am doing and being given the opportunities I have been. I am so grateful for that. 

You need to have the tough times to appreciate the good times. You can’t always be flying high. 

Xoxo. 

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Back to the Party Starter.

This week I have been battling that absolutely rank cold/flu that has been doing the rounds.  Whoever contaminated me, you are off my Christmas card list.

I have been on enforced rest (courtesy of Sam (coach)) for the past four days and IT IS SO BORING. What does everyone do in their spare time?! Please enlighten me for future reference. 

I even had to cancel my Friday evening (social) plans. Brought a tear to my eye (genuine, it was a low point). 

Saturday I had to put my race case together and after some persuasion, and as I had stuck to instructions, Sam allowed me to have my own way and race on Sunday.  Unfortunately, there were strict conditions attached; under NO circumstances was I to max out (my next ‘A Race’ is in 2 weeks and a chest infection would be bad news); I was to ONLY treat is as a brick (training) session; and I was to ENJOY it. 

I am very proud of myself.  I did as I was told. I am actually becoming very well behaved. See how long it lasts; hopefully until the end of the season (two weeks). Now that is a real test of endurance. 

As I explained in my previous post. My first triathlon was the Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon 2018 where I managed a 3rd. This year I brought a GOLD home as first female over the line AND first in age group (AG). 

I am pretty chuffed because:

(a) This week has been so snotty (BOGIES) and achy (Friday I was told to prepare for no race);
(b) Massive improvement from last year despite point (a);
(c) So much pressure on home turf so pleased to have pulled it off; and
(d) It was Sams last year as event organised and he wanted to go out on a high. He organised an impressive and popular event and I am proud to have him as my coach (not that I am brown nosing at all!). 

Unfortunately, not everything was smooth runnings. My T1 was pretty shocking. When you can’t feel your feet after exiting the water, putting shoes on whilst simultaneously jumping onto your bike can be challenging. Particularly when you mix it with a strong amount of Dyspraxia. Still better that last year. My run pace was OK (as instructed, not max) but ASTHMA WILL YOU BUGGER OFF. This is one thing massively annoying me. I mean, oxygen. Who needs that anyway?!?! 

On a serious note, any fellow sufferers – send hints and tips my way. 

This cold thing probably doesn’t help my case but lungs, pretty please can you cooperate with my future ambitions. Thanks in advance. 

Medal Monday, hopefully I will be seeing you again soon!   

Xoxo. 

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You’ve Been Framed.

After my beginners luck at the Shrewsbury Sprint Triathlon, I carried on with my usual routine; occasionally venturing to the gym before work, working, eating, drinking, socialising, going away for weekends and sleeping. 

Shortly after my apparent success at the event, Sam Mountain (coach for Amphibian Triathlon Coaching and SYTri) approached me at Rowton Castle Country Club (my gym) during one of my morning workouts.  He asked me whether I was a member of the Shrewsbury Triathlon Club (SYTri) and who I was coached by. 

He was met with a vacant expression.

Obviously, I coached myself like a normal wanna-be triathlete, duuuuhhhhh!

He asked me a few more questions about my previous triathlon experience etc etc. Again, he was met with a vacant gaze. I had no idea what he was on about and I had to explain that the previous weekends success was purely down to beginners luck and a bit of mental determination. For some reason, he thought there was more to it than just luck – still, a vacant expression.

As he suggested, I joined SYTri and was therefore able to attend the club swimming sessions and track evenings. This alone provided more structure to my training and I continued to attend the gym in the mornings where he monitored  (judged) my training from afar (in the shadows of the gym). I just carried on doing my own thing, coaching myself and living my best life. During this time, I sustained a minor injury to my Achilles and had a niggle in my knee. 

Shortly before Christmas, Sam sat me down to discuss my future plans/ambitions regarding triathlon.  By this point I had been working on my running pace (whilst slightly injured and making it worse), naturally aiming for a PB every session, lifting heavier weights, doing more burpees and getting out on my bike as much as possible. I was driven by going faster on Strava and burning calories/losing weight.  Neither of which were going to get me successfully through a triathlon and all of which were making me tired (obvs. nothing to do with my social life). 

I like to set my goals pretty high. Before sitting down with Sam and after my Shrewsbury Triathlon, my social media following became largely geared around triathletes and sportsmen/women rather than fashion and ‘lifestyle’ influencers which I had before. I had looked into the European Championships and decided that’s where I’d like to aim.

Decision made my answer to Sam was that, in 2019 I wanted to qualify for the 2020 European Triathlon Championships. 

He asked me how I intended to get there. I had no idea. 

After that discussion, we agreed that I would be taken under his wing from January 2019 and I would become a ‘coached triathlete’, just four months after my first event. He ran through the likely training hours and how the coach/athlete relationship would work. He also explained that I had been over-training; hence the injury.

He warned me that I would need to make sacrifices e.g. not as much socialising. Phaaaaaa, when he said this I wanted to wish him luck.  I had every intention of continuing my current lifestyle and drinking habits whilst qualifying for the Europeans. #YOLO.

Miracles do happen afterall. 

On my own accord, I decided to use the Christmas break as a bit of a detox – terrible timing I know but a lot had happened between June and December 2018: 

  • I regained my single status; 
  • I gained a promotion at work;
  • I moved from Wales to Shrewsbury;
  • I moved again within Shrewsbury; 
  • I more than regained my social life; 
  • I put an offer in on a house and sorted a Mortgage;
  • I put 20,000 miles on my car due to various weekend adventures; and 
  • I completed a triathlon. 

The six months had been a bit of a whirlwind and I needed some downtime.  I also needed to rest ahead of the imminent structured training regime I had committed myself to!

Things can only get better… 

Xoxo.

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Shrewsbury Triathlon 2018.

As I have explained previously, the idea of failure gives me the heebegebies.  Failing at something is different for everyone and I appreciate that. We all have different hopes, dreams and aspirations.  Some people see success as making it over the finish line, seeing how many tequilas you can sink in a night (often me), making it to the end of the week without having a breakdown (sometimes me), losing weight, going for a run, starting a family, finishing a book etc. etc.

For me, it’s about being competitive and being the best I can possibly be at whatever it is I am doing. Ultimately, that is what makes me happy (albeit sometimes very stressed). Equally, not achieving something can make me pretty unhappy because I put so much of myself into something, I therefore have a lot to lose.

One of the reasons I did not pick up riding after university is because I could not afford to be the best and as competitive as I would want to be and I found that demotivating. I could not just be a ‘happy hacker’.  I suppose this could be seen as a failure or just an acceptance of external limitations and being realistic.

Relating this back to the Shrewsbury Triathlon; I had set my mind on a top ten placing and whilst physically I was no where near as prepared as I should have been, mentally I was pretty set on this outcome. 

I arrived at the West-Midlands Showground with borrowed gear and completely clueless. Put my bike and other essentials into the transition area (commonly referred to as ‘racking up’ as shown in the picture). 

I then set about getting myself ready to start.  Put on my tri-suit, covered myself in body lube (chaffing is an issue – preventative application pictured) and squeezed into my borrowed wet suit; a surfing wetsuit meaning it generated more drag/resistance so put me at an immediate disadvantage (Obvs getting my excuses in early). 

I took myself down to the start line where everyone was rocking their streamlined numbers and Garmin watches – all looking the part. Then there was me, looking like the child who forget their PE kit and was forced to dress out of the lost property box. 

The Swim.
This was my second ever experience of open water swimming. During the race briefing it was highlighted that it is not uncommon for beginners to hyperventilate in open water. Excellent. Those of you who are familiar with the River Severn know that water clarity it probably not something it is known for. Visibility and therefore swimming on the right direction is challenging.  Swim went OK, no biggie.

T1.
Hilarious. Watch the highlighted instagram video. Words can’t explain how terrible it was. 

The Bike.
Roubaix (my bike) performed pretty well despite being ridden by a complete apprentice. ‘P’ plates would have been advisable. It was VERY steady. At this point I had ventured out on my bike some 10 times and riding without stabilisers was still touch and go. You’ll be pleased to know that we pulled through. Team effort.

T2.
Better than T1 but questionable. 

The Run.
Somehow pulled out a personal best (20min 19sec) for a 5km. Quite enjoyed it.

It was difficult to judge my placing as due to my inexperience, I was not registered in a competitive wave.  I came out the swim first in my wave and from there on, I was just racing myself. There were four waves which started ahead of me. There were also a lot of fit and coached athletes taking part. My physical fitness was questionable.

Priorities – So on my way to get a post race pizza (SHOCK, thinking about the next meal), I looked up the race results online to find I had pulled a third place out the bag. Annoyingly, this meant we had to pull a u-turn and delay pizza for the podium.   

If you are ever having a bad day and fancy laughing at some unflattering Instagram content at my expense – check out my Shrewsbury Triathlon 2018 highlighted story, as choreographed by my much loved brother, Owen (pictured). 

Obviously I ran straight off the podium back to the local pizza joint where I replenished any depleted carb stores. Obviously I didn’t take my medal off all day. Nothing wring with a bit of bling.  

So, thankfully my triathlon career hit off to a successful start and I caught the bug. It also meant I set myself some pretty high targets for the future.

Onwards and upwards. 

Xoxo. 

P.S. Big thanks to my support team – mum, brother, nan, grandad, Beth and Karen (Beths mum/my surrogate Welsh mother).

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Preparing to Lose my Triathlon Virginity

Pre finding my teenage self (whoever that was) I was a county swimmer and went on the occasional run.  In my head, I had these two elements nailed and  surely learning to ride a bike was just basic. I had looked at the pacing of previous years competitors and despite my busy night life, I couldn’t see why a top ten placing was unrealistic. 

I am a nightmare, I can’t see the point in doing something unless you are in with a chance of doing well and willing to give it 110%. I apply this to my work, going out, studying, this blog and competing. I hate the thought of failing at anything and the fear of doing so honestly gives me bouts of anxiety.  

So, preparing for this triathlon I had entered… 

I did minimal training other than a bit of general running, cycling and even ventured to the public swimming session to check I was still operational.  The public swimming session is worth a mention; OH MY DAIZZZZ, the lane politics are something else – I sustained a black eye and bruised shoulder. They are SO territorial. Obviously I stood my ground in the firmest but fairest way possible by refusing to move. 

The weekend leading up to the event was the August Bank Holiday.  Naturally I went out Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. Why not?! I spent the remainder of the following week sobering up and catching up on sleep.

The weekend soon arrived together with my mum, brother, nan, grandad who travelled from Essex to support/laugh/encourage me over the finish line.

I think I should point out here that I genuinely had no gear and absolutely no idea.  I was told that wetsuits were compulsory so I borrowed a friends surfing suit.  I was none the wiser until I was standing in my start wave and noticed that I was very much the odd one out.  

I had managed to invest in a tri-suit which, until it arrived I had thought was some sort of all-in-one wetsuit. Didn’t realise you wore this under the wetsuit – I assumed you either wore one or the other and then got changed after your swim. Good job I was put right the day before, otherwise everyone in transition would have witnessed a sneaky strip show. 

The day before I spent on YouTube, watching how to get your kit off and on ASAP.  I was also watching how best to get my leg over without causing any damage and as smoothly as possible. 

Obviously both skill sets are essential for a quick Transition 1 (T1) and Transition 2 (T2). In both departments I lacked considerable experience – Somethings in life you just can’t prepare for.

Therefore, the day before, I spent practicing: dressing and undressing; jumping on, riding a short distance; jumping off and quickly running away.  Honestly, I don’t know how people do this so quickly and just jog off like nothing has happened. 

What became a problem, together with my inexperience was my clumsiness. I am dyspraxic, walking in a straight line is challenging enough. Let alone completing an efficient transition when so many components require precision. 

As the saying goes, fail to prepare… 

Xoxo. 

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Riding Solo (ft. Jason Derulo.)

So, in June 2018, I bucked my ideas up and launched myself into becoming a #strongindependantwoman. With the help of some very valued friends, I escaped the (beautiful) depths of Wales and moved to Shrewsbury as a lone free ranger. 

Please refer to the above picture of me embracing my new independence. Getting naked and running around is liberating. Liberating until some tourists (the type that take pictures of pigeons in London and carry cameras around their necks whilst wearing socks and sandals) pulled over and thought they were the paparazzi. So yes, (somewhere in the world) there is a picture of me running around the south coast of Iceland, naked.  I hope they enjoy it.  Was not the first time and probably won’t be the last time I have been caught ‘skinny dipping’.  Who dares wins. 

As part of this miraculous transformation and adamant independence, I rediscovered an appetite for BIG  nights out and everything that went with it. From the end of June until December 2018, I didn’t spend a single weekend in my own company. I was either ‘out out’ or visiting friends at either end of the country. Spending a fortune, getting terrible hangovers around working stupid hours and occasionally frequenting the gym. Safe to say, this was not sustainable but enough of this reminiscing over nights I can barely remember. I am sure I had fun. 

As a recently single female, together with embracing some classy nights out, you are meant to do something drastic like chop off your hair, get a tattoo blah blah.   I entered the Shrewsbury Triathlon and bought a second-hand road bike (Specialized Roubaix) – also due to a (tiny) bit of sibling rivalry. I know, wild child right here. 

Honestly, a road bike is a completely different creature to your normal two wheeler.  First outing resulted in me crashing into a hedge and flying over the handle bars. Women drivers are a nightmare. As are stinging nettles.  

I had from June to September to learn how to drive the bike and to get somewhere near ‘triathlon fit’. 

Anyway, I set about continuing my personal development of nights out, putting miles on my car at weekends and living life at 110 mph not knowing whether I was coming or going – obviously living my best life. 

September was ages away and what’s a triathlon anyway!?!?

Xoxo. 

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Mind Over Matter.

So, to continue with my life ramblings and to provide more recent background as to how I have ended up 220 miles from home with a professional career and being a triathlete, I have delved into my mental archives and drawn upon events which have shaped who and where I am today.  It tired me out just writing about it – there should probably be a health warning attached. 

N.B. Don’t get the violins out on my account. I promise the below has had a hugely positive impact on my life and has given me a greater awareness and appreciation of other peoples circumstances. I can empathise. 

In 2015 I graduated from the mothership, Harper Adams University with a much worked (and played for) 2:1 degree in Rural Enterprise and Estate Management. Many a night was spent in the 24H room together with Sexual Scare (the local club) and the Student Union Bar. I would suggest all in equal measure. I had a lot of fun during my first and second year and gave my social life 110% effort. As a result, I made a lot of very valued friends who I am still in touch with and wish I could see more of. 

During my placement year (in Mid-Wales) I met my (ex) boyfriend and once graduated decided it was an excellent idea to move my entire life to the West Midlands because, well what could possibly go wrong!? At my current firm in Shrewsbury, I worked my butt off to get my Chartered Status together with further exams to become a Fellow of the CAAV. Detail is boring but these exams loomed over me for almost 24 months and put life on hold. 

These years (2015 – 2018), together with my final year, have by far been my toughest.  I lived on my own in the middle of a tiny Welsh village. I went from going out twice a week to barely ever and felt completely isolated. I worked from 0800-1900, 5 days a week coming home to an empty house with no signal. I sacrificed a huge amount; my family, my friends, a social life, a lot of my confidence and just buried my head in the sand. 

I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to: have a successful career; be a supportive girlfriend; comply with societies ‘norms’ (get married in your 20’s, have children); be financially independent; be a good friend; have a social life; make time for my family; be fun; live up to this apparent great life so many people seem to portray on social media. I created a very good front to everyone in the big wide world. 

I appreciate that this post is very heavy but it is hugely relevant to what I am doing and where I am now. Often in races and during training it really is mind over matter. Physically you can reach a limit but it is often your mentality that can take you that bit further. I will refer to this again in a future post but I have turned this mentality around into something positive. During these years I was pretty low and felt mentally weak. It wasn’t until I forced myself to think about it and what was making me feel like this that I found I was stronger than I realised. I look back now and realise I was not being weak, I was purely being stubborn and not wanting to admit that:

  • I was potentially wrong to relocate away from home;
  • that I was unhappy;
  • that I missed my friends and family back in Essex; and
  • that the whole relationship was a situation that couldn’t be fixed (through no fault of either party).

I am now exactly the same with my training sessions and in races. I just can’t give up, for better or worse I am more stubborn and determined than I ever have been before. 

Another reason for me posting this is because time and time again, I speak to friends who are in a similar situation to what I was then. It makes me realise that it is not uncommon and I want to shake them and tell them that they are better than that and that if you set you mind on something (no matter haw small), you can achieve it and you can achieve it on your own. 

Mental health is a huge thing.  I would not say I have ever suffered with depression but I certainly believe that sometimes in life we all find ourselves in less than comfortable situations and often it is external influences that trigger this which are out of our control.  All of the factors affecting my happiness were within my control and realising that made me undertake some serious life admin which admittedly took some balls. 

You have to be selfish sometimes, make decisions for the sake or your own happiness and that isn’t a bad thing.  

I promise to be more upbeat going forwards but I want this blog to be real life. Not just what is ‘photogenic’. We are all human and we can’t always be flying high, that is just a fact of life. 

Oh and, I don’t think I was wrong to move away from home. I am very content in Shrewsbury.

I also refuse to apologise – very un British on me. 

Xoxo. 

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*COACH, YOU HAVE MAIL (Again)*

I had prepared an ‘official’ third entry but I decided to be spontaneous and delight you with some sole triathlon training content. Given this is what my life revolves around. 

Sam and I use Training Peaks which connects to my Garmin and allows him to spy on me and make sure I am doing as I am told. I try my best. 

So as well as my continuous whitterings to him over text, I also express any displeasure over Training Peaks. I try to give him Sundays off. 

So here is an extract of one of these entries on Training Peaks and what I subject my poor coach to. 

The session under attack was a 48min interval run set consisting of 8min max efforts and 2min easy with a warm up/cool down either side.  Running intervals are not a favourite but a necessity (apparently *eye roll*). 

6AM ALARM CALLS. 

Session Overview: 

  1. Got to the end of the road and had to turn around because my leggings were on back to front, not only that but inside out. FML. 
  2. It is womans week. FML.
  3. I am 1kg fatter and I feel like an elephant (probably due to point 2 above and pizza consumption). FML.
  4. I got stitch after the first max effort. THE ODDS ARE AGAINST ME. 
  5. A combination of 2, 3 and 4 above meant I was slower. A lot slower than I thought I would be. 
  6. This made me (slightly) late for work. HATE being late.  
  7. I boiled some eggs for lunch. 
  8. Forgot to take them out my car. 
  9. Am now about to take one of the senior partners out in my car. 
  10. MY CAR STINKS OF EGG. 

As you can see, I am a delight and full of positivity on a Monday morning. I am not sure whether Sam (coach) laughs or cries but 7 months in, he is still putting up with me. 

Today (Friday) is a rest day. PRAISE THE LORD. Since last Friday I have done some 11 hours of training.  This past week has been full of double sessions (morning and evening).  This weekend I have a 2 hour brick (Bike-Run) session, a 3,000m swim AND a 15km run to look forward to! 

Honestly, I actually enjoy this in an almost sadistic way and hopeful for some reward. *touch wood*. So far, there has actually been no single session which I have dreaded and despite my above ramblings, I am hooked.   

Life story to continue shorty but the the mean time, I am going to enjoy my REST DAY – to include pizza, my bed and aeroplane mode – some self-love which is WELLLL over-due. 

DND (Do Not Disturb). Have a killer of a weekend. Xoxo.  

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Before | Now | No Idea.

So, I think a alot about the future.

I think that is a good thing because no one likes to live in the past.

However, on one of my longer bike rides the other week, I reverted back to my 16 year old self and what I was doing this time, ten years ago and where I thought I would be now…

I was loving life. Member of Young Farmers… no further comment needed.

I was eventing my 6 year old mare who I bought myself (not the bank of mum and dad) as a 4 year old and took her from being barely backed to sailing around British Eventing 100 course and collecting rosettes. She broke my heart, going lame after her first season. She also broke my jaw and gave me concussion, putting me in hospital more than once. Persistence beats resistance… until you run out of money and the bank of mum and dad are not an option.

I worked as a lifeguard every weekend and evening to fund this hobby. I was slightly delusional. Genuinely thought I was funding my future and that I would be riding around Badminton/Burghley by now (international level). Failing this, I would be a successful business woman, strutting around the streets of London in my Chanel suit and Christian Louis Vuitton stilettos. I mean, a girls got to have ambition, right?!

I had my FIRST EVER boyfriend. Literally head-over-heels. He was the year above me, typically handsome (if you read this, don’t let it get your your head because it is already big enough) and aspired to the world of banking (and w*anking). I honestly thought he was it. The one. We would both go to university, remain faithful and completely in love, graduate and have successful careers.

I honestly thought that we were soul mates and that we would both embark on successful careers, earning our millions. During this phase of life, I would be rocking a massive diamond of great clarity and we would be planning our MASSIVE wedding and our no-expense spared honeymoon where we would make love every night and would return glowing with a little sproglett on the way. In my head, this was all perfectly possible before the big 3 – 0.

Obviously before this point, he would have wined and dined me, showered me in Mulberry/Chanel handbags, Tiffany jewellery etc. etc. Y’know – the usual student/graduate wage gifts.

Safe to say, I am a bit of a dreamer. Not that there is anything wrong with a dreamer. I still am but perhaps (hopefully) less naive.

OMG. I know right. All fairy tales have a shitter of an ending. GUESS WHAT. The f*cker was a cheating toad (I can tell how shocked you all are). Oh and by cheating, I don’t just mean a cheeky snog. He was a slut. Fair enough, we are all only young and foolish once.

Anyway. Karma is a thing. Bye Boy.

So, (eventually) I big girl pants on and had a reality check. Que, Destiny’s Child, Survivor.

I mean, I have encountered a few more toads since this one but I have not made the same mistake twice. Just a variation of it.

It’s weird because this relationship ended by the time I was 18 but it has massively shaped who I am today, how I conduct myself and how I am able (not able) to deal with and portray my emotions. Life is too precious and too short to waste time. Naturally, I hit freshers week pretty hard. It was fun and I forgot about him.

Things that motivated me when I was 16:

  • Designer bags
  • A flashy lifestyle
  • Nice presents
  • Making a good impression
  • Money

Anyway. 10 years on:

I am happy;

I have a first class degree;

I have gained Chartered status;

I am standing on my own two feet, I have a (so far so good) career as a Rural Chartered Surveyor (Associate Land Agent) with my own house;

I have some amazing (and very patient) friends;

In January I started triathlon training, coach (Sam) in tow and sitting here today, August 2019, I have qualified for the 2020 European and World Triathlon Championships (25-29 AG);

Around this I have a (occasionally hectic) social life; and

Am attempting to set a good example of a #strongindependantwoman to my god daughter, Madeline Smith.

To summarise, life is actually going AMAZING albeit a different path to the 16 year old me had planned. I am very lucky and very grateful.

Currently I am motivated by:

  • Going faster
  • Meeting new people
  • Gaining a sense of achievement
  • Wanting to make a difference (in all ways possible)
  • Doing things that make me happy
  • New opportunities and making the most of them
  • Obviously my coach, Sam Mountain, my Family and Friends are massive motivators. All of whom are a great great support network and who I will be forever grateful for.

Obviously a lot has happened in 10 years. Some of which I will fill you in on but as two points in time, it is amazing how much life can change and how as a person, you evolve. In my instance, I think for the better.

I don’t think much of the person I was 10 years ago, or even the person I was 12/18 months ago but that’s what makes who you are today and in the future.

Life is a journey, for better or for worse. The world owes you absolutely nothing. Who know’s what the next 10 years will bring or even the next 10 months but here’s to working hard, being kind, having a great time and at some point making a difference in this messy world!

LATERSSSS. Love you all. xoxo.

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Testing, testing…

OH HI THERE!

WELCOME TO MY PUBLIC DIARY; AN ACCESS ALL AREAS ACCOUNT OF ME TRYING TO BALANCE TRIATHLON TRAINING WITH THAT THING CALLED WORK, SOCIALISING, DATING AND SLEEPING.

Life is sometimes hectic, please bear with. x

Exploring the world of social media, blogging and being a ‘triathlete’ – whatever any of those terms mean.

I suppose I should introduce myself:

  • Name: Charlotte White
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Born and raised in Essex (no, I don’t live up to the TOWIE stereotype), living in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
  • Sport: Standard (Olympic) distance Triathlon (25-29 Age Grouper (AG)).
  • Supported by:
    • Sam Mountain from Amphibian Triathlon Coaching
    • TORQ
    • Darwin Wealth Management
    • Encouragement from everyone at Balfours
    • Team White
    • Myself
  • Triathlon Achievements:
    • 3rd place in the National Triathlon Championships held in Southport resulting in automatic qualification for the European Standard Distance World Championships being held in Tartu, Estonia in 2020. (25-29 AG).
    • 5th place at the Leeds Castle Triathlon resulting in an automatic (3rd placing) qualification for the ITU World Triathlon Championships being held in Edmonton, Canada in 2020. (25-29 AG).
  • That 9-5:30 Thing: Associate Land Agent (Rural Chartered Surveyor) with a local firm in Shropshire managing landed rural estates and undertaking Red Book valuations.
  • Professional Qualifications:
    • 2:1 BSc(Hons) in Rural Enterprise and Land Management (don’t ask what that entails)
    • Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS)
    • Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (FAAV).

Basically, a load of letters that took 5 years and 6 months to accumulate.  Charlotte White BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV at your beckoning call. 

  • Misc. Achievements:
    • Invested in bricks and mortar March 2019
    • £1,400 raised for the Macular Society in July 2019 through completing the Prudential Ride London (100 mile bike ride). A charity which is very close to my heart.
    • Established #strongindependantwoman since 2018

I think it is also worth noting that I have had a very fortunate upbringing and start in life which I am very aware of and thankful to my parents and those around me for. I grew up in the countryside, both my parents have worked incredibly hard and had/have good jobs which enabled us to go on annual family holidays. I have had a good (state) education and was encouraged as a youngster to undertake a number of extra curricular activities and to make the most of every opportunity which came my way.  I appreciate that growing up, I have benefitted from a number of opportunities which others may not have had.  I wanted to make this clear because I am not claiming to be a ‘rags to riches’ story and I do not want it to be perceived as such.  Whilst I am very fortunate, I have not had anything handed to me on a plate and everything I have today is from hard work and occasionally pushing my luck. 

HEALTH WARNING.

I like to talk (a lot) and this is likely to come across in the length of my posts but I will try to be frank. I think this little online diary might take a lot of people, particularly my family, by surprise.

Anyway, enough of the boring stuff, there’s plenty of time for that if you stick around.

To summarise, I have started this blog because:

A. People keep asking me questions;

B. Show the attempted professional work/training/sleep/social life balance (it is an art);

C. Life is sometimes a shitter, the ‘gram does not give an accurate representation; and

D. I will do anything to get sponsorship (well… give or take).

So blog post 1 over and out. xoxo.