Aileen's Blog

Aileen's Blog

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
Beijing

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.

Yokahama

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.



Pontevedra Hamburg London & Tizzy - 13 September '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:02:05
I hope readers will forgive me for not blogging. But, its hard to blog when your down, disappointed with your results. Not just because they weren’t great results, but because I know I’m better than that. Also because I don’t want to make excuses for my bad races. It is my fault if I swim poorly, mess up transition, am a coward on the bike, or if I’m just not fit enough. Yes I follow direction from a coach, but in the end of the day I have to do the work, and feed back if things are going to plan.

I've done a quick summary of each race.

Pontevedra

So the races didn’t go to plan. I was all hyped up for the European Champs. I had prepared to the best of my ability and everything was going to plan, with regards to training and targeting the race for a potential medal. When I arrived at the race I practiced everything from the swim exit & dives, to bike transitions. The few days before the race were very hot and I also hydrated well and was prepared for a hot race.

I swam amazing to be in a brake-away group of 5. I hung on their wheels but the bike was hard and hot. We were caught after 2 laps. In transition the ground was so hot my feet were burning and I made a conscious decision not to max the first k as I knew half the field would blow up. I was full of water and my legs felt like crap after the hard bike. I ended up a disappointing 13th.

I was disappointed with my race and how much effort I had put into it the previous weeks. I chalked it up as a bad day but also reflected that I needed more bike work.

Hamburg

In those 3weeks before Hamburg I had 2 days off the bike. I developed a sore bum from so much bike work, I was swimming well and my training on the whole was as good as ever. I swam the first 400 again amazingly well to be looking across at Lucy Hall on my right I knew I was flying. Unfortunately I couldn’t hold the pace and by the time I got to transition I had redlined and been in redline mode for quite a while. As I hung on Moffat’s wheel going up the hill Hewitt and some others passed me. A gap opened at the top of the hill and couldn’t close it cos I was breathing out my ass! I joined the second pack and started the run with them, running the 10th fastest time and placing 30? Its no use running the 10th fastest from the second pack tho and it was back to the drawing board to sort out some swim endurance. Moffat won with Emma Jackson in 2nd and Snowsill in 3rd. Watching it back and seeing Moffat win and knowing that a year perviously I had been in that lead group and that sprint finish made me jealous, angry at myself, downhearted but soon after hungry for more training and racing.

After another few weeks of hard swim/ bike training I was set for London WCS.

London WCS

After the disappointment of the previous races I was determined to make front pack in Hyde Park. As the Olympic test event, all of the big names would be here and many countries would use this as a selection race, so they’d be in tip top condition. On the bike familiarization it felt very special to cycle in front of Buckingham palace, to have all the traffic closed down for us, and to be a part of such a big event. Admittedly I was nervous/ intimidated going into the race. Id say having crashed in this race two years ago may not have helped confidence issues!

I think I lost some places over the second half of the swim, but I exited the water in a reasonable position and was ready for the bike. A good transition and when I seen Spirig on the bike I absolutely did not want to let that wheel go. We hammered the first lap until we caught the leaders and the remaining 5 laps were steady enough saying as I stayed totally at back of the pack like a custard. The last lap was a bit twitchy and for there not to be a crash was a miracle. Inevitably I was near the back entering (and therefore exiting) transition. I ran really well, and after learned that Id run the first 1k as fast as the race leaders. Unfortunately for me I was 14seconds behind them running at the same pace and had no chance of catching up at that speed. I did pass a few, but never got to the front of the field because of my cowardly back-of-bike-pack cycle and poor transition approach. However with that caliber of field to finish in 18th position I decided it was neither overly amazing nor overly poor. It was about where I was at. Helen Jenkins executed the perfect race and I was really happy for her to finish like that in front of a home crowd.

Tizzy

In the week between London and Tizzy, Team Triathlon Ireland spent a few days training in Lensbury near St Marys in London. The Irish team will use it as a training base before the Olympics next year so we decided to give it a test drive. Cycling in Richmond park was lovely and it was a nice build up to the Tizzy race.

On the Thursday I ran a great fartleck, felt really good. But on Friday I had a sore calf. It subsided a little but I didn’t run again until my warm up for the race to try to let it settle. I was in a long line of girls out of the water and managed to mess up my transition and not make front pack with the girls I was with. I worked hard on the bike this time trying to stay near the front on the course which had 11 corners per lap. At some stage in the middle of standing up for those 77 corners, I could feel my calf sore and decided that if I would at least try to run the first 1k at full race pace. I got off and ran and could feel my calf sore after 100meters. So I stopped. Its my first DNF (besides London 09 when I went to hospital), but I knew it was the smart sensible decision. The American ran from my pack through the field to take gold, while Italian Mazzentti held on for silver with Aussie Sheedy-Ryan in third also from second pack. Frustrating but back home form more training.



Windsor - 22 June '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 21:59:26
It was bl**dy cold! I could stop there, but best fill in since FGP.

After the FGP I spent a week on the sofa with lemsip and flirted with some easy training later in the week. I done a hard bike and run on the Saturday as a test to decide if I’d do Madrid WCS. It went ok, and so I was all set. Come Monday I felt worse than I’d felt the previous week and we decided not to go.

The same day Triathlon Ireland had organized a big- all signing, all dancing, media day in Dublin with photo shoots, TV interviews, journo interviews, telephone interviews, media training, interspersed with lunch and coffee. The day was a success and topped off with Anne O Leary announcing the 3 year deal with Vodafone sponsoring Triathlon Ireland and supporting the national series events.

Another week of easy enough training until Thursday when Chris delivered a killer session. 4x 10s hills, 4x 2min hills, then block of 15min tempo. Three times. Each block took 45mins so inc warm-up I was running over 2hours 30mins. I didn’t bother with a cool down! I had sore legs for a few days.

With missing the WCS race I was a bit disappointed, but knew I wasn’t fit for it as I was still coughing when I watched Paula Findlay win online.

Instead, the following weekend I headed for Windsor, part of the British super series. This time I prepared well and had a win in mind. After watching Abbie Thornigton lead the swim in Madrid, I knew she would out-class everyone here too, I just hoped that I could go with her on the bike. I didn’t, and she managed a 30something sec gap into T1 with Amy Wolfe and I exiting the water together, with a few other hot on our heels. It turned out we had 6 or so including Heather Jackson (good biking), Jacqui Slack and Lois Rosindale. The girls and I actually cycled well taking turns and we eventually caught Abbie. The rain made it cold and the spray made it horrible, spitting every few minutes with all the dirt.

I didn’t enjoy the race and spent more time at the front than I would have liked, only to try to stay out of the spray and push the pace to muster some warmth.

Heading into T2 I couldn’t feel my hands, therefore change gears or brake, which is kind of necessary. So I didn’t try to get in first instead I was careful (but slow), and when I racked my bike I couldn’t undo my helmet or put on my shoes. When I eventually left T2(I think I was last out), it was like running on stumps. It took 2 laps until I got the feeling back to my feet, but by that time Lois had a good lead on me. I ran as fast as I could in the conditions, but Lois out-ran me and won. I was impressed by the strength of the British girls, and how good their biking was. But also Lois ran well and it was her first win, well deserved.

A quick turn around to the airport, another week of training in the bank and then final prep for European Championships this weekend (25th June) in Pontevedra, northern Spain.

I had an interesting bike/run/bike/run/bike/run session on Monday. Seemingly my HR and lactates went down as I went along! Apparently I have weird lactate buffering capabilities. I also smashed out an amazing set in the pool the very day coach Chris decided to visit. It happened to be my birthday that day, so it made me happy, followed by a special croissant breakfast après-swim.

Next up Europeans this weekend. The start list says I’m ranked no# 5. But I’ve picked out 2 good swimmers (Jensen & Thorington), not to let get away, or even better bring me with you! And a handful of Spanish runners (namely Moura, Rodiguez, Dalmincourt) and 2 French to watch out for Charayon & Peon who could do well. I always say there are always young ones coming through to watch out for, so I may well have missed someone in there! My aim is to get a good swim and then be first one out of T2! (that would be a first).



Dunkerque FGP - 25 May '11

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 21:58:20
Last week I enjoyed a full and varied week of training! I was also more holy than mother Theresa as I had swim testing on Monday and Wednesday and testing on the track over 12x 300s. Holy referring to the number of lactate prick holes in my fingers BTW. Testing went good and we got lots of useful information for training data. By Thursday I was winding down, and decided not to travel to France until Saturday, with the race on Sunday and fly home after the race. With the one day turn-around in mind I also decided to try using a team bike as Kirsten (Sweetland) had done this in Le Baule and it worked out just fine. Twas a great idea as I travelled with ease, and the bike was grand. I got up early on Sunday for a lap of the course before breakfast and make sure the bike worked ticketyboo.

Non & Charl.

Our Cesson team this time consisted of Myself along with Delphine, Yoliene, Non Stanford & Charollote Mc Shane (France, Belgium, Wales, Australia). I expected we would do well as a team. Swim start was madness, I got swam over and Charlotte got punched in the face! I exited the water just off a bunch with Yoliene, we missed front pack by seconds. I busted my ass anyhow and got dropped from the second pack too, and joined Non in another little group. I got dropped from that too, and ended up in a big pack of girls with Charlotte driving the bunch. I managed to stay with them, albeit hanging on for dear life at the back of the group. By the time I started the run I thought Id try to re-gain some credit, but I was mentally done having told myself I was crap, and should retire from triathlon altogether. On the run both Yoliene and Delphine dropped out as Delphine's teeth were hurting (wisdom teeth), and Yoliene had a cold. So now I had to finish to make enough places up for the team. I did, with Non and Charlotte a good few places in front. Our team placed 7th, and I feel bad for Olivier our team manager as Its my second bad race for Cesson after last years disaster in Le Baule. Sorry Olivier.

Thats me getting dropped in the green helmet

After the race I said no excuses, It was just a bad race. Take your oil, (a Derry saying). But chris made me take a day off even though I didn't feel like I needed it. Then I woke up on tuesday with a sore throat and was forced to take another day off! On reflection maybe I didn't give the race the credit it deserved, I thought I was heading over for a wee easy race, but all the big guns turned up, and it was HARD.

I've a few days easy now before some last prep for Madrid WCS race on 5th June. Ill be meeting up with Gav, Bryan, and Emma in Dublin at the weekend as we are getting new TI kit and we have a meeting with the OCI peops out uniform for the OLYMPICS! wooo.

With all the doom and gloom in my life it was nice to see some photos I had taken last week in Belfast, thanks to Laurence J Photography- he's doing a project on sportswomen and I kindly obliged to pose for a few. His work was amazing, all lights and big cameras. Thanks Larry.

Laters



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