Aileen's Blog

Aileen's Blog

8th in the world - 8 September 2013

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:22:53
The Nigel Farrow shot says it all. 8th in World after a season of consistent performances, then I topped it off with my best performance to date.

After (my last blog) I left Sedona, I raced in Yokohama. I love Japan, rice triangles, Procari sweat and getting to meet up with the Asics Japan guys who always give me snazzy shoes with my name on. I was 4th there in 2011 so I have fond memories of the course and its crazy 70 corners. I finished 12th and a decent few points.

A had a much needed 3 weeks at home to spend some time with the hubby, but also trying to keep up my training. It can seem weird to people to say that I was ‘hiding’ but really you cant be going out all the time or meeting all the people you would like to for cups of tea- otherwise you’d not get much rest between sessions.

Onto Madrid, with a silver last year, I knew from experience the course would favor strong riders over the hilly Campo Lopez course. I swam and biked with the front pack, and tried to put into practice my transitions I’ve been working on with Darren. Whatever happened I ended up at the back and was dead last out of T2, something that cost me a few finish positions. I did have the fastest last half lap run split, but if your not in the race at the start of the race….

European camp started straight after Madrid when the D-squad arrived in Morzine, France. A beautiful sleepy village haven for skiing and downhill mountain biking. Every day our first session would start at 7.30am, taking advantage of the 1000-1300m altitude, in the French alps. An idyllic location for hilly biking, trail running and open water swimming. House-sharing with Mitch was fun as I found someone more OCD than me. We were settled in by Amelia & Joe at Tri4 the Alps, merci boucoup!

I sneaked home a weekend to race at the ‘City of Culture’ Triathlon in Derry. Cold, wet and blowing a gale it wasn’t the weather I was now accustomed to. My 4minute transition (jacket and coat) raised a few ‘what-is-she-doing’ eyebrows. Nevertheless the organizers did a superb job, the town looked amazing, and I had a fab time. I also took the opportunity to pick up my swanky new PlanetX Mondo to race the rest of the season on.

I was in two minds as to race in Kitzhbuel. A gargantuan 13% average climb with sections of 28%, finished with an uphill run, at altitude! Darren wanted me to sit it out, and so I planned not to race. It appeared from training I was much better at the big climbs than we both thought I was, so I entered late. I swam at the front and biked steady. The girl in front dropped the wheel, and I tried to make up the difference. I blew up and was just happy to make it to the top. Honestly the toughest race of my career. Team mate Jodie Stimpson won, and I finished 17th below what I had hoped, but statistically speaking those who done well here were either >45kgs or specialist bikers. Figures.

In Hamburg 2010 I came away with Triathon Irelands first medal at a world event. Though I also had a bum race here in 2012 having raced rank no1. This year I had my first ‘bad swim’ getting swamped before the first bouy. Luckily the new training with Darren has prepared me well for this, and I can now swim without panic in those conditions, use my head to get to where I need to be and swim faster to make up the difference. I did and I got out in a decent position and into the front pack. The bike was full pace with D-squad Anne Haug at the front. I ran a reasonable run but was outsprinted for a top 10.

With training going well, but little in the way of a confidence boost in the year I asked Darren if I could race at Tizzy World Cup. With a double round sprint event sat/sun I thought it would also be a double chance to practice my transitions and some of the technical changes we had made to my run. The sat race was all about making it into the top 14 and into the ‘final’ but the swim and bike were really hard! My group pushed a 3minute advantage on the chasers, and so I jogged the run (but technically beautiful) to save energy. The plan worked, and in the final I took my first bling of the year with a silver medal.

In the lead into Stockholm D-squad upped sticks and upped the Avoiraz mountain to live at 1800m. I think the high altitude suits me, and we gained from loads of strength work. I stayed in a tiny ‘caravan’ (apartment) with Katie Hewison, and she nicknamed me her ‘gypsy wife’ as I cleaned our wee caravan all day!

Stockholm, what a beautiful city. I knew it would be a tough bike course over the cobbles so I tried to stay near the front. With the changes Darren and I had made to my running stride I was keen to put them into practice here. It showed and I managed to reel in a few at the end for a strong 8th.

Returning for the last block of 3 weeks in Morzine I was keen to put my head down and do the best I could for the end of my season. Changing something like your run stride can be tough at the best of times, but at 31, and half way through your season is testing. Both physically and mentally. But I put my trust in Darren and benefitted from his use of video work.

I went into London ranked world no 11. I was excepting a fast swim. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so cold. On the bike I realised the top players (Jodie, Gwen and Non) were in my pack, but Anne was missing. She suffered a violent swim. On the second lap Gwen came down at bird cage corner. Darren had prepared us well, having cycled/ walked/ and pushed my bike sideways on the road I knew it was VERY slippy and went wide to avoid her and a similar fate to August 2012.

I was so cold in T2 I couldn’t feel my hands to get my helmet off, nor could I feel my feet when I started running. I actually looked at my feet after 400m to make sure they were my shoes as they felt 2 sizes too big. My only thoughts were that if I’m this cold, everyone else must be too. I felt surprisingly fresh and bouncy despite the feet issue. Every time I passed transition I could only think of my husband and family in the stands and what they must be thinking of me running in the top 5. On the last lap I tried to make a gap on Jodie so that I would have a cushion for the sprint. In doing so I caught Moffy?! I sprinted and crossed the line in 2nd. Holy moly, where did that come from? I ran into Non’s arms and we were delighted for each other as former French team mates and under-dogs! Moffy 3rd and Jodie 4th. Non won the series, with Jodie in second and Anne third. My 2nd place boosted my ranking points enough to put me in 8th and fulfill the second of my end of season goals- the other to have a consistent year!

At the medal ceremony I loved watching the Irish flag flying, but I dream some day I’ll hear the Irish anthem instead.

This year has been challenging for me. A new coach, a new group, new training methods and 9months away from home and from my husband of only 11months! But I love my job, it’s only a sacrifice if you don’t. I may not have long in this game, and if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it whole-heartedly. My husband feels the same and I’m lucky to have found someone who appreciates the demands of our crazy sport and the desire to be the best I can be.



Canberra- Auckland- Sedona

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:21:25
Dear Meg (& the Harrison family)

I miss you guys & Canberra too.

Going to the race in Auckland was exciting, and I managed to pull off a good swim, so I was pretty happy with that. I think all that swimming in lake Burley Griffen paid off as I can finally translate being a good swimmer into being a good open water swimmer, and being able to handle bubbles at last. It put me in a good position in the front pack and I tried to use my energy wisely like coachdaz has taught me. That would be thanks to all the cornering sessions with the D-squad at the bike park. I felt good on the 24 hills too, which might be thanks to Stromlo hill reps. My run was as good as I could expect at this time of year, and hopefully that will improve a wee bit too.

I didn't get a chance to visit Waiheke Island again, but I did ride to Mission Bay to meet Sandy, who was the lovely lady that married Davy and I there less than 6 months ago. Racing as Mrs Reid was really nice too, loads of people I haven't seen yet saying congrats. I heard Barrie Shepley the commentator gave me mentions in the swim on triathlonlive. So I was proud to do the Reid family name proud.

Im glad you were able to hook up the computer to the tv, that sounds like it was awesome place to watch the race! I hope you had popcorn. Don't forget the San Diego race is 330pm local time you can watch it with your season pass too!

So I arrived in Sedona a few days ago, for the next part of our training and racing. The pool here is awesome, and trails along the valleys below the red rock cliffs are so much fun to run on. The drivers here don't love cyclists either though, so it is a bit scary at times.
Thu, April 11, 2013

Dear Mum and Dad,

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:20:07
I arrived in Canberra on Sunday. The 35 hour journey wasn't too bad. My new family & new coach met me at the airport. My new family are lovely. Mum & Dad- Leanne & Grant do triathlon. Thomas 16, Matthew 12, and Meg 7 are sporty too. Meg made some pink 'Welcome Aileen' bunting for my arrival, and she likes me to plait her hair. Thomas is working as a swimming instructor this summer, so I have been giving him tips from my instructor days. Matthew helped me look up some scooters to get about, but we discovered I'd need to sit a test even for a 50cc. So instead he helped me find an electric bike. My new electric bike is red and I took it on its first spin to town today. I've named it Betsy. She's not very fast but it saves my legs for all the hard stuff my new coach is giving me.

My new family live in a beautiful house close to the bike path and Lake Burley Griffen. I've now cycled round the lake a few times, ran on the path, and even swam a 5k session in it. The temperature is 25degrees so it is a lot warmer than Camlough. Training is going well so far but a lot of things are very different from my last coach, so I've had to make some changes and get used to things I don't like. I've also learned so much in one week about things Id never think of. It is also fabulous to train with the best triathletes in the world, and see how much effort, desire and dedication they have. I have no doubt they will all be on podiums this year.

I am missing home a little, the Lisburn swimmers, the bun-runners, and the guys in SINI.

Hi to all.

Aileen

xxx

Sun, January 13, 2013

2012 a review

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:17:17
With the Olympics over I went about getting back in shape and had a great race in Nice with my French team Poissy coming 4th and helping team poissy to win the overall prize. Mum, Dad auntie Geraldine and cousin Aisling came to cheer and it was a fab way to kick start the return.

Onto Yokohama and I was in happy to exit the water at the front, but an awesome race it wasn’t. 14th wasn’t too bad either.

I decided to go home in between (something I regretted) and was to finish my year in Hong Kong and Auckland, with the plan to do a wee race en-route to the big one. Unfortunately I came down with something and had to pull out of the HK race hoping to get better in time for Auckland.

I was still coughing up green stuff but I thought id give it a go. Again I swam well exiting 2nd and was safely in the front pack. The bike pack was lined out with the corners/ climbs and down-hills. The gremlins got the better of me, telling me I was still sick and I got dropped from the front pack and the second pack passed by shortly after. The snots were tripping me, but I continued on my own until I was so embarrassed with the shame of getting dropped twice. I pulled off to the side when I seen davy and coughed up my lungs and cried a fair bit.

I soon cheered up and davy and I drown our sorrows in the vineyards of Waiheke Island, getting married on the beach without telling anyone at home. Maybe racing as Aileen Reid will change things a bit?

Il admit I have strengths and weaknesses like everyone else but I hope to address them next year! As I said to someone recently, ‘I know I can be good sometimes, so if I can be good more often that would help’.

It was still my best ever year, I competing in the Olympics for Ireland, I came 2nd in the World Tri Series in Madrid, 2nd in Ishagaki World Cup, 2 great races for my French team, and was ranked 7th at one stage, even wearing the no1 hat in Hamburg.

I’m hopefully there’s a good platform for next year, and I have some exciting news shortly on that front!

Sun, November 18, 2012

An Olympic Blog - 4 August 2012

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:15:10

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19125978

Just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone.
To Chris, Tommy, Deirdre, Declan, Martina & Ken. Best support team ever.

To all at Triathlon Ireland.

All at the OCI & SINI.

Mum, Dad, Ruth & Conall for being an awesome Morrison family.

Davy Love u.

All the Derry, Lisburn & Malin Head supporters.

And to everyone who got up at 6am to cheer and wave irish flags in Hyde park, you guys were everywhere.

You all were the ones who helped me get up off the ground and back on my bike.

Love u all.



Madness since Madrid - 22 June '14

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:12:58
Things have been mad since my silver in Madrid. Gav and I had an official TI media day when our selection was announced and I had a few days easy and to gather myself again.

Me n gav doing our blue steel. One of the photographers said he could stare at him all day! your in there gav.

I borrowed some children to inspire when the torch relay was about Lisburn- my niece Charley and Amelia.

I was really chuffed to receive emails from people saying their kids were watching and cheering for me. So much so I agreed to answer a few questions for young Daniel Sherwood if I could use it in my blog. Though something tells me his daddy might have come up with some of them?

What’s your weakest discipline? How have you managed to improve this in the last few years?

My weakest discipline has always been cycling, but I have been working hard with my coach to ensure I can compete with the best in the world on the toughest bike courses, such as Beijing and Madrid.

What’s you favourite training session?

My favorite swim set is 40x50s, where there are sprints and recoveries.

16, with every 4th one fast off 45 seconds.

12 every 3rd one fast off 50

8 every 2nd one fast off 55

Last 4 ALL fast off 60 seconds.

It’s a hard swim set where you get increasing more rest at the wall, but less easy swims.

And also the one you don't like?

My least favorite session would be a 4hour cycle in the cold or rain. But these sessions still have to be done, so I just have to get on with it.

How do you stay motivated even in the off season when your not racing?

I really do like to race, so my coach will allow me to compete in cross country events and swimming galas. Its not always about competing against others for me, but trying to improve on my best times from previous years and also about having fun on the domestic scene with team mates from City of Derry Spartans (my athletics club) or teaming up for a relay with Lisburn City Swim club.

As our climate is not hot and humid like where you have raced, how do you prepare for these type of races?

I am lucky to be able to have access to the Sports Institute Northern Ireland, where I train usually twice per week. Before the Beijing Grand Final last year I had done a few of my runs sessions on the treadmill in the lab, the temperature was regulated to what expected temperature was in Beijing. It was hot but it was good to be able to have experienced running in such heat before the event.In events like that it is important to be well hydrate in advance of the race, so I sip on water with electrolyte before hand.

How much has the standard and speed in ITU races moved on from when you first started racing them?

There are more women able to compete at the highest level now, so both the speed of the run, and the number of women able to run at speed have increased! Before I started racing Vanessa Fernandes and Emma Snowsill dominated the races, but now there are 15 women who are capable of winning a medal at the London Olympics. There are also changes in racing tactics, such as using ‘Super swimmers’ such as Great Britain’s Lucy Hall, who will no doubt be first out of the water in London, but will string out the field making it really fast during the first part of the race.

Would you like to do any long distance races in the future or will you stay at the Olympic distance?

At the minute I’m totally happy racing ITU, I don’t intent to race Ironman ever.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

When I stop racing I hope to start a family and do some coaching, I’d prefer to coach kids than adults though as I have a background in coaching both swimming and athletics as well as being a qualified PE teacher.

Thanks to;

Daniel Sherwood

5th Class, The Model School, Kilkenny

Teacher Mrs Tulloch



Madrid WTS Silver! - 27 May '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:12:00
WOOOO! Silver. On that last 800m I thought I might just collapse with the jelly legs I'm so glad I made it to the finish line.

In fact when I got off my bike, I was just happy to be still alive and in the race at all. That was honestly the hardest bike course ever. But after another shocking T2 I managed to pull back from a 12s deficit to catch the leaders who were running steady as a group at the front. When i got there I took a wee micro-rest (Thanks tommy) and cos it was comfy I decided to push on a wee bit without going mad. It worked a bit and we lost 2 or 3, but I didn't look behind me until the last turn around and seen I still had a tail of 3. Pants!

I knew Nicola would kill it in the sprint so I pushed some more, and then she went with 800 to go and Barb too, my only thought was pretending the line was closer than it was.

Anyhow, It moves me up the rankings some more and gives me a good kick in the ass to sort out me T2. Maybe we can make me a new track sessions; it could become a 1lap on the bike followed by dismount, rack bike, shoe change, and go!?

Massive thanks to coach Chris who is unfaltering in his coaching and patience! Also obviously to Tommy & Davy who I could not train without.

Next up 'TI Media Day' Thursday. Our Olympic 'announcement' some training pics and interviews. If your interested give Scott a shout on media@triathlonireland.com

Next stop Toulouse & Kitzhbuel. xxxx



DMC Santini - 15 May '12

Pre February 2014Posted by aileen Mon, February 03, 2014 22:11:03
Visit the DMC stand at this weekends bike show at the RDS to see DMC Santini custom suits!

AILEEN MORRISON’S LONDON DREAM FURTHER ASSISTED by DMC Sports

DMC Sports Ireland, the Irish distributor for the Santini brand amongst others, has today announced a sponsorship agreement of London 2012 hopeful, triathlete Aileen Morrison. The agreement will run to London 2012 and beyond.

Commenting on the agreement, Aileen – currently ranked 7th in the ITU World Rankings – said, “For any athlete, sponsorship is important. Furthermore it is good to have the support of companies in the know, and that they see me as a good enough athlete to want to support. It’s a confidence booster for me”.

Aileen Morrison's new tri-suit in Monica fabric with Acquazero treatment

Earlier in 2012, Triathlon Ireland announced an apparel agreement with DMC Sports and Santini. Since the beginning of the season, Triathlon Ireland wears both technical and leisure garments from the Italian based clothing company. According to David McQuaid, Managing Director of DMC Sports, an independent sponsorship of a high profile elite Irish Triathlete was the next step. “

Naturally the sponsorship of Aileen is somewhat value added to our initial kit sponsorship with Triathlon Ireland, but it is a little bit more than that. During the winter we worked all three parties on the development of a high-end world class Santini tri suit from scratch. It was there that I came across Aileen and found her to be not just professional and pleasant, but extremely willing to be involved and lend her experience. Aileen is an asset to a sponsor,” he said.

The Derry native has been in blistering form this season, already netting two podium positions, firstly at the first ITU European Cup of the season, at Quarteira in Portugal and following this on with another silver podium position at the ITU World Cup in Japan. “I met David during the winter when we were prototype testing the new suit. I’m happy to be supported by DMC because it allows me now to have the performance kit that I need to compete at the highest level in WTS and look good doing it” she said, before further adding “ DMC are also helping me with some travel costs this year which takes a lot of pressure off me in an Olympic year, by being able to go to all the races I need to go to, to enable me to move forward in my sport”.

Commenting on the new clothing itself, Paola Santini, Marketing Manger of Santini explains, “This was a project. It started from point zero. And gradually we developed in house the suits following the requests and indications of the Elites”.

“The suit is made of what we refer to as Monica fabric, elastic but very compact, it provides both muscles compression and support. But our finishing touch is the Acquazero treatment. This water-repellent treatment is exclusive to Santini and still allows the suit to maintain it’s original features”

“One request coming from our Irish distributor’s side was that the end suit was 100% customisable. Well the Monica fabric is printable through sublimation, and all suits that we will provide to Triathlon Ireland in 2012 will be printed” she said.

“The material makes for fast swimming” Aileen added.

Aileen next competes in Dunkerque in France on May 20th, before joining her Triathlon Ireland teammates for the Madrid round of the World Cup Series on May 26th.



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