Aileen's Blog

Aileen's Blog

Silver in Ishagaki World Cup (again) - 22 April '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:10:07
In my second visit to Ishagaki, I picked my my second silver. I was ranked no 4 going into the race, but I knew it was Kathy Tremblay I had to watch out for after her 6th place finish in Sydney WTS last week. I was surprised by the fast run of fellow canadian Sarah-Anne Buralt, who put I admittedly had somewhat of a tactical battle with. I tried to overtake her and she didn't let me, so I let her run in front and tire before I went for it. Sorry, but thats racing!

I did have a good swim again, exiting the water in 2nd behind Kathy. I thought we might have a small group but we ended up in one large group anyhow, which was more like a primary school slow bicycle race with a few sprints out of the corners thrown in, just for the craic.

Anyhow I stayed in the first 4 wheels to cover any breakaways, avoid crashes, and try to get myself in a good position for T2. I failed miserably on the last goal, and exited T2 way behind Kathy who had a mad dash for it on the way in (way behind in triathlon terms means 8-10seconds). I tried to close the deficit, but didn't want to blow the gasket. Then sarah and I had our wee battle (she is infact lovely) and I came away with silver in another World Cup I can be happy with.

Earlier in the week i was invited to the press conference, which was fun. Im not sure why the lads put their hand on the hips when the dude asked us to make 'guns', it looks v funny!

Off home now for 3 weeks, a FGP for my new team Poissy, and Madrid WTS.

Sydney WTS - 14 April '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:09:16
So its now a World Triathlon Series and this years first, in Sydney was another mixed bag for me.

Image Delly Carr- ITU Media. Thats me 3rd from left.

I exited the water 4th just after Helen & Emma Moffat, Go me. I told you I could swim.

Then had a good bike ride and just didn't feel good on the run. A bit of funny tummy & just feeling wick, I cant explain it all, other than I know I could have run better. I will take a 28th nevertheless and remember the days i didn't swim 4th fastest!

Never mind, onto Ishagaki on Monday with Chris, Deirdre & Gav.

Gav done well in 35th, and we were both so pleased to have the Irish support here in Australia (via some of my family and the half of ireland who seem to work here) and support on Twitter etc. Thank you guys. Lots.

What a fab pic.

Sydney - 10 April '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:07:49
Just up for an early cycle around Sydney city centre. 6am gets you 10laps around the botanical gardens, with a photo opportunity.

Sydney WCS is at 7.36am Saturday 14th. And i'm no 4! Gone just pinch me. Gav is off then about 9.30 ish, and we are both off to Ishagaki, Japan on Monday for a WC on Sunday 22nd.

Hopefully a good start to a good year!

Silver in Quarteria ETU - 31 March '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:07:08
I arrived for my first race of 2012 in good spirits. I had raced Quarteria (Portugal) European Cup Triathlon before in 2009, so I was familiar with the course and my past block of training at home has gone really well.

2weeks ago I competed in a 5k at Gransha Park in aid of Foyle Hospice, a locally organised race was fantastic warm up to my season on the international stage. My time was good- 17.11, but I paced my self badly going out too hard.

I was ranked no1 going into the race which adds a bit of pressure, but is nice too.

There was a swim familiarisation on Friday, with strong winds the sea was rough. Being used to swimming in the Donegal beaches from my surf lifesaving days it didn’t phase me.

At the race I was called to the start line first and got a good cheer from the crowd. When the horn went I got a good start but after a few hundred meters a girl swam on top of me a few times and then grabbed my hat and dunked me. I was outraged so I grabbed her back! Girls racing is notorious for bitchiness but this was silly- it wasn’t helpful for she or I. I panicked a bit and lost ground on a group of 5 girls who got away. I ended up in a second pack on the bike doing a lot of hard work to try to catch up to no avail. Once onto the run I was a full 60seconds behind the leaders for the 10k run. But on the first lap I caught 3 of them! Then the number 3 ranked athlete Carol Peon of France on the last lap, but unfortunately not the Spaniard Anoua Moura. Silver in my first race, but also an amazing run after getting beaten up in the swim.

Having some points on the 2012 bag is also helpful, but I have a really good ranking from last year. My Olympic ranking was 11 at the end of last year which means even though Olympic qualification doesn’t end until June I am certain to stay in the top 55 starters; and therefore don’t need to race again before London. For me I still need to compete in European races to boost my confidence, and in World series events to get more experience competing at the top level.

It was great to have loads of support at the race with mum & dad and some of the Northern Ireland Athletics team who are here on a training camp.

I’m home to NI on Monday, and then I fly to Sydney for a World Series event on Saturday and onto a World cup event in Ishagaki, Japan. After that I have 3 week of hard training at home. I will keep you all updated!

Sun & Snow in Sierra Nevada - 31 Jan '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:06:20

The Centro Altitud is like a big space ship.

At 2350m above sea level It’s both sunny and snowy.

The cycle from the nearest city of Granada is 31k and takes me 2hours uphill.

The run from Sierra Nevada village at 2200m 8k uphill to the military base at 2550m takes 41minutes 30s.

Last nite was -8 when I got there.

With everything under one roof Spain’s Altitude centre is an athletes haven for every kind of sport. The 50m pool has underwater cameras, underwater viewing areas, even plasma tv poolside. The rest- weights room, cardio room, indoor 100m track, outdoor track, analysis centre, sports med & physio included so we can monitor blood markers for iron/ hemoglobin/ hematacrit. Breakfast, lunch, dinner & wifi under the same roof to train 24-7 is just about perfect. Day off? In 3 weeks here we have 1, I’m happy to sleep & read. I’ve read 2 books since I’ve been here (I’d recommend both Nicolas Roche & Andre Agassi).

We’ve also cycled up the mountain 4times so far, and run to the top from here 3. I’ve had my first experience on rollers (sorry Declan), and my first track session of 2012 in Granada (8x split 800s, 45rest 3m between sets). Coach Chris & SINI physiologist Declan were here for 10days and have handed over to Tommy for the remainder. We even had a visit from RTE folk for a wee slot on winning streak on Saturday night. Alls well and the craic is ninety with Conor, Gav and Caroline for company. Basically its been all go since my last blog and to fill you in on the rest….

After Tongyeong I had some time off, headed home to Derry and on some holimadays to Portugal to lye in the sunshine a few days. With no more than a few lengths granny stroke and a walk as means of exercise for 2 weeks it was poles apart from my daily routine.

I was asked back to talk to the ‘sporty kids’ in my old school (Thornhill) and to St Cecilias where I had done my PE teaching practice a few years ago. I hope I said all the right things!

I was nominated as Novembers Irish Times sportswoman of the month and got to attend the end of year prize ceremony where Nina Carberry (Jockey) picked up the overall 2011 honors.

In December I headed off to my winter ‘home’ in Aguilas to swim/ bike/ run/ eat/ sleep in the sunshine. Apart from the usual Gav & Connor, we were joined by a host of others including Martin Muldoon Irish Ironman, Caroline Ryan Irish track cyclist, Philip Deginan pro-cyclist and young Jack Wilson who cycles with my club in Lisburn. Athletes Darren McBrearty & Thomas Chamney joined in the craic to make great entertainment at the dinner table and meant we had a whole room full of Irish to cheer on Fionnuala Britton (coached by Chris) to European Cross Country success. The camp was fab as always, and a few 4 hour rides in the mountains set me up for a Lap-of-the-Lough with the Maryland boys when I got home 3 days before Christmas! (Lough Neagh that is- 89miles in 4hours 51mins)

Christmas brought a Downtown Abbey box set and no actual days off as I opted for a 5k road race in Stranolar on boxing day. I thought it would be fun to go all out from the start (cos it was only 5k), but it was in fact no fun at all at 3k when I reached a new max heart rate of 177! I was just glad to finish in 18.30ish, It was actually a 1minute 30s pb as I hadn’t done a 5k since being a ‘serious athlete’ some 4 years ago. I tried again on new years eve at a ‘Park Run’ 5k in Cavehill where I was a bit more conservative and managed a similar time 18.45ish over a tougher course. Happy enough I suppose with only winter aerobic miles in my legs.

With the race season fast approaching I need to start thinking about which races to do. Having signed this year for the best French Team, POISSY, I’m hoping to open up with a Duathlon (run bike run) for them if it works out, before taking on an ETU and then the first WCS of the year in Sydney which will be a big race, with all the big guns. Then flying the following week to the Japanese Island of Isgahaki where I bagged a silver medal last year.

So my first few races should look like this;

FGP Duathlon, Vitrolles, France 11 March, TBC.

ETU cup Quarteria, Portugal 31 March WCS Sydney,

Aus 14 April WC Ishagaki, Japan 22 April.

After that I’ll regroup, though have a rough idea of what I hope to do, I’ll leave it at that for now.

Lastly well done and good luck to my world class swimming, cycling and running buddies. Beth Carson of Lisburn won 2 bronze medals in 2.02.44 200fc & 100.86 100fly at the weekend in Luxembourg. Whilst Caroline Ryan will head on to a bike track camp in prep for the London World Cup, and Amy Foster will be looking a to dominate in the Irish Indoors 60m 12feb at the Odyssey. Go the girlies!

Hope you all are training hard, and have got your hotel/ tent for staying in Hyde Park in August!

Aileen x.

Silver in Tongyeong - 15 Oct '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:04:54
In my last race of the year I bagged myself a medal in Tongyeong World Cup. Jess ran away with the gold whilst Zurine Rodriguez was challanged to the end for bronze by Carole Peon. Its a short one today cos im off to pack and party! 2 weeks off yeaaaaaaa.

Huatulco & YOU magazine - 10 Oct '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:04:04
Inside YOU magazine. Go me. Great pics by Patrick Bolger.

What a cool airport, thatched roof building, palm trees, 1 check in desk, 1 gate, 5minutes from drop-off to boarding door. The flight is a bit bumpy on them short trips tho. Anyhow, yes Huatulco was hot, and so we had prepared well in Florida. But the hill was the killer. 20% grade (or so) at the bottom, and so I was glad Gav had convinced me to put on the 27. I tested it and could climb it in the 25, but standing entirely, and I wouldn’t have been able to run very far after. I knew either Flora or Sarah would take out the swim, but I had a good start and 2nd round the first bouy, I felt like I could swim faster so tried to overtake Sarah into the beach, as did Flora but Sarah got the prime. I held a good position into the 2nd lap, but I don’t think we swam all that fast? It would have been nicer to drop a few non-swimmers and get a small pack. On the first time up the hill we had a big enough pack and the cameraman on the motorbike stopped (sideways) in the middle of the road. I was near the front and was able to avoid him by going left but the girls who went right got taken out. Natalie (one of my new Aussie friends) and race no1 Mauoua went down, and when they recovered they were caught by 2nd pack. I stayed at the front on the hill and tried to push a bit of pace, I’d rather be the dropper than the dropee (if there is such a word). But apart from that, again a lot of the girls were taking it easy for the run. I knew that Mazzetti, and Dalmincourt would be fast, and I took the lead in the run for the first lap, but they both passed me as did Ide (at speed) and my wee legs couldn’t keep up with them after the hills. I felt a bit crappy for the first 2 laps, but probably held my speed on the 3rd & 4th. Finishing in 4th was a good day at the office, I was happy with swim/ bike/ transitions and ran as fast as my legs would allow after the hills. I don’t imagine it will be my best run time, but neither will it be for anyone. It was a course that suited small light girls (& guys) who could get up the hill easy, and still run after. Luckily I didn’t have then to worry about anti-doping nor medal presentations as I was home/ changed/ packed for the airport in 2 hours.

In different news I got yesterday, I was in a magazine at home. YOU mag a supplement with the Irish Daily Mail. I even made the front cover with a wee spread in the middle. A lovely lady (Michelle Flemming) interviewed me one day and decided to send me to a professional photographer (Patrick Bolger- great work) with all the hair and make-up and designer clothes from fashionista wardrobe lady. It was a really fun day as I done it on a day off. Felt like one of them off Americas next top model- though I had no other girls to bitch fight with like they do on the telly (gotta love that show). Big shoes, orange lippy, and a wind machine!

Beijing and Yokahama - 7 Oct '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:03:00

After Tizzy I got back into the swing pretty quickly when physio Dee fixed me up nice. It was back to the 7 cycle session per week and some decent warm weather training in the SINI lab. Tommy pushed me on the Scarva hill, and Sleivegullion where we found a 17% climb. Who needs the Alps when you have Northern Ireland? Declan brought two heaters into the lab to recreate some heat and I was all set for Beijing. With a decent support crew in Dee, Chris, Tommy and Matt, myself Gav and young Ben arrived in good spirits. On the Friday night I sneezed 3 times in a row and took a Vitamin C hoping it was nothing. I spent all day Saturday in bed/ drinking hotwater with lemon and manuka honey feeling a bit shi**y. I was determined this course would suit me and the training I had done with the hills so nothing was gonna put me off.

(pic) Gav, Tommy & I took a bike ride to the great wall!

I got the worst start imaginable, followed by the worst swim ever- I got ducked under no less than three times and suffered a few nice bruises. As I got on my bike I hammered it up the hill and didn’t stop until we caught another bunch on the third lap. I stayed near the front all the time and was extremely happy with my bike. Although there was a small group in front, the 3 Emmas, Spirig and a few other hot favs were in my pack. I tried to run with Jackson on the first lap but didn’t have the zip. I managed to pick up speed on the uphills and on the 3rd lap picking off a few, finishing a credible 18th to match my London result, and with a decent run split. At the line I told Chris and Dee it hurt the most of all my races, but it felt great to be up there on the bike and in control. I felt so proud of the work I had done and thankful to Tommy for the relentless biking. Although front pack would have been nice, it was to me my best and hardest race this season.

Ben managed a breakaway on the bike (go u) but was passed by the fast runners and finished 30th in the U23 race, Gav made front pack and ran himself into 26th. I enjoyed a night in Beijing with my big sis Ruth who lives in Hong Kong; she and hubby had come to cheer me on. We visited Tianiam square, the Forbidden city and the silk market where I got lots of knock off stuff! T’was great to see my sis.


Gav, Tommy and I stayed a few days longer in Beijing training there as opposed to Japan as we knew we could cycle there. We arrived in Yokahama on the Thursday and we cooked. Boy it was nice to be in Japan, a very western culture compared to China. I only had a few quick hits of training that week as I had 7days between races, but I felt good. It was hot and Chris advised me to go out hard on the run (‘as if it’s a 5k’ he says!), as everyone would die off anyway, and it would be a procession from there. I thought I might as well try it as I had done it the other way in Pontevedra and that got me no-where. (pic Delly Carr ITUmedia)

I felt sick before the start somewhere between nerves and the amount of water I had consumed. But this time I was prepared for a fast start, and managed to be 3rd around the first bouy behind super swimmer Lucy Hall and Helen Jenkins. I stayed with them but not exactly on-feet until the second lap where they had a slight lead into transition, but I was still 26seconds up on the chase pack! Wow go me and my swim! With Lucy & Helen already away I might as well sit up and wait as I wasn’t going to catch them on my own. I had a wee drink and spin until the pack caught me. The course was flat but had 10 corners every lap. Tommys advice was to stay near the front, with seated accelerations so as not to waste energy surging or standing with the yo-yo effect at the back. I did, and I think it worked. It also meant I had good positioning into T2. I also took Chris’s crazy advice and went out hard. I took water at every aid station pouring it over my head in desperate attempt to cool off. Hewitt and Moffatt made an early lead, but I tried to stay with Helen when she passed me. I ran with Lisa Norden, Jackson, and Kate McIlroy on my heels for the most of the race. I tried to inject pace every now and then to burn them off as I didn’t fancy a sprint at the end. Kate and I dropped Lisa and Emma, and managed to pass Helen on the last lap who was suffering in the heat. Kate then passed me with 800 to go and I didn’t have anything left, just making it to the line at this stage would be nice please. A 4th place at a WCS is my best result this year. Totally happy with my swim/ bike/ run/ transitions/ attitude I think it’s the first time this year I managed to put it all together. And that’s what this game is about for me now. I know I can swim/ bike/ run well, I just have to do them well on the same day, have a good attitude in the race and have a wee bit of luck on my side. (For those of you are saying ‘what does luck matter?’ it matters because luck dictates how many times you get hit in the swim/ if someone crashes in front of you/ you get a silly wee injury that pops up the day before a race etc etc etc).

Sometimes things are out of your control, but you can work on things that aren’t- attitude to racing, being aggressive on the bike, having the mentality to stay focused when things don’t go to plan, believing that you deserve to be in the front pack, and at the front of the front pack into T2. Knowing that you can run well in hot races, cycle hard up hard hills, believing you still have legs for the run after a hard bike. I’m starting to believe.

Florida baby

2 races down and 2 to go in my round-the-world adventure (with 3 weeks in the middle). 14 flights over 6 weeks of racing, travelling and training. It was good to be in the one place for a while, but preparing for a hot race means training in heat. You’d think this would be fun, but running at 1.30pm in 40degree heat with no water was not fun. The wee Aussie chicks have one-up on me there and my 4x2k turned into 2x2k and make it back to the van before passing out. My Internal organs suffered that day. But other days were more fun. Gav and I stayed at the AAA Triathlon Training Centre C/o John and Jodi. Jamie Turner an Aussie Junior coach brought a bunch of ones there last year and we decided to jump on the bandwagon as we needed somewhere hot and some training partners. Both those worked out well and I got my ass kicked a few times in the process. We only trained once at the NTC in Clermont as it was quite expensive but the area was nice. I’d return for a similar heat experience or recommend it to a friend. Finding hills was a different matter in flat Florida. We were recommended to go to Sugarloaf mountain the steepest and longest hill in the area. A total of 2minutes 30s of riding time. Though we also used a hill in the middle of a housing estate that we got 50seconds out of. I hope it helps for Huatulco, the hill on the course is 19% at the bottom, so I’ve borrowed a 27 from John. I am ranked no2 in the race, but I’d never under estimate any of the junior athletes who haven’t raced much on the world circuit. Sarah Haskins is ranked no3 and I’m sure she’ll head out the beach-start swim fast. Maybe my surf-lifesaving skills from a former life will come in useful? Being highly ranked is pretty awesome, but there is also a wee bit more pressure as people expect something. I’d normally look at the other athletes arriving at the airport seeing who was there and what shape they looked to be in. I noticed one of the girls on the plane nudge another to say ‘look there’s that Irish girl’ made me chuckle. I fly out straight after the race for my final race in Tongyeong. I’ll only have 6 days between as I will travel forward in time! That will be a challenge of recovery. Optimum protein bar, ice bath, debuild bike, asics compression socks, fly (ok 2x flights, an overnight in LA and another flight), land, sleep, 4 days easy training before the last race.

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