In the beginning

Beccles Triathlon Club & Waveney Valley AC

Finding these clubs has had a massive influence on how my life is now.

After completing Fritton Lake and loving it, I knew I wanted to do better at the next Triathlon I had booked. The Victory triathlon was one month away, at this point.

I knew I needed to improve in all areas, having upgraded my bike to a road bike would help on the cycle part. I was doing parkrun which I hope would help with the running. So decided to Google local swimming lessons. I thought learning front crawl would be a good idea to work on.

Firstly I was surprised at how difficult it was to find swimming lessons for adults on-line. Not very encouraging for those who want to learn how to swim or improve/get more confident.

After not having much luck I then tried looking for a local Triathlon club.

I came across Rock Estate but they looked very professional and didn’t think they would welcome a novice newbie like myself so carried on searching. Tri-Anglia were another club I came across but again there wasn’t really anywhere on their site encouraging new members, and its based in Norwich which wasn’t really practical.

I then found Beccles Triathlon Club, and thank goodness I did! Straight away they seemed like a friendly club, that would welcome someone like me. I got in contact with Kate, and have never looked back since.

Kate and Jase have set up a club they should be really proud of. They are both friendly, encouraging and so supportive. I have now learnt front crawl, which I would not have done on my own. Swimming with the club gave me the confidence and push I needed to break out of my comfort zone.

On Wednesday nights we run with Waveney Valley AC running club. Again Richard and Mike are brilliant coaches, they made me feel so welcome but also gave me the motivation and support to really get into running. I NEVER thought I would enjoy running but I do now thanks to them.

I have met so many fantastic people through both clubs, and I want to thank everyone who continues to support, encourage and inspire me. You are all brilliant.

I would recommend anyone who is interested in Triathlon, running, cycling etc to see if there is a local club near you. You won’t regret it.

Beccles Triathlon Club Website 

Waveney Valley AC Website

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Fritton Lake Super Sprint 2014 – My First Triathlon

Here we are, the day of my first Triathlon had finally arrived!

The race wasn’t until 2pm in the afternoon, so had plenty of time to prepare and worry!

I had asked a few friends if they could come and cheer me on and their support was really needed. Am still thankful to Chris, Debbie, Gemma, Stuart, Karen, John, Hannah, George and Rob for being so amazing. Also to Rebecca and her family who were also fantastic on the day.

I went to registration, picked up my race number, safety pins and stickers for my bike and helmet. Off to the transition area where I laid out my kit.

The race itself consisted of

Swim – 400m (In Fritton Lake)

Bike – 14k (Road)

Run – 2.5k (On park trails)

I completed the Triathlon in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 46 seconds. Link to my splits – http://www.chiptiminguk.co.uk/ps/results/Fritton%20Lake%20Super%20Sprint%20Triathlon/28309

For the swim I decided not to wear my wet-suit, the water temperature was warm enough and I found I was stronger swimming breaststroke in just my Tri-suit. Felt really good on the swim.

On the bike section I rode my hybrid, and I really struggled. I hadn’t realised but my mudguard had got knocked while travelling to the event. It was rubbing against my back wheel the whole way round. I also hadn’t done enough cycling outside of the gym and found hills/wind very tiring.

The run was on a trail around the woodland at Fritton Lake. I was feeling pretty tired after the bike ride but determined to run/jog the 2.5k.

Overall I was so pleased with my result and felt a massive sense of achievement when I crossed the finish line. I completed a Triathlon and most importantly raised £1000 for EACH and Macmillan.

I did the Triathlon in memory of my Dad.

Triathlon Training Day – Lake Disaster!!

A few months before I was due to take part in the Fritton Lake Triathlon, I found out about a “Triathlon Training Day” the same company were hosting.

With a month until the big day I signed up and went along.

Although the day itself ended badly. I can honestly say without going to this training day, I would not have completed my first triathlon.

I received an email to say what to bring along to the day;

  • Wetsuit & googles (this was an open water swim training day, however they do pool based ones also)
  • Swimming costume/Tri-suit or whatever you plan to wear on the bike/run sections
  • Towel
  • Bike and helmet
  • Running shoes
  • Warm Clothes – This is a must!!

In the morning we were taken down to the lake, and the instructor talked us through the best way to put a wetsuit on. He must have laughed at us all hoping around, but eventually we were all suited up.

Having never wore a wetsuit before I was surprised at how tight it feels to start with. You do get used to it and like anything new over time it gets more comfortable.

Another shock I had was how cold the lake is, I stupidly thought wetsuits kept you dry. However after walking into the lake I soon felt the cold water going into the back of the wetsuit via the zip.

To start with the cold water really takes your breath away, however it isn’t that cold once you start swimming.

There was a nice 50 m section set up for us to swim around to get used to the lake. Everyone started to swim front crawl and fast! Panic really set in….I could only swim breast stroke and it felt like I wasn’t making a progress!!! I really got stressed and my breathing was very laboured.

In the end I couldn’t join the others and swim around the lake, I was too distressed. I just watched.

Eventually and finally we all got out. Learned the best way to remove our wetsuits and got dry.

After lunch we moved onto learning how best to do the first transition (Swim to Bike or T1).

We were shown how to set up our bike and helmet, how to remove our bikes from the rack and run with them. We were also shown how best to mount and dismount.

After this we covered the second transition (bike to run or T2). We did what is called BRICK training. We cycled a 3k loop and then went onto a 1k run, the plan was to do this 3 times.

I couldn’t even run 100m, my breathing was still bad from the lake. It was so embarrassing…after not being able to swim, I now wasn’t even able to run. Trying not to burst into tears in front of everyone, I walked and cycled some of the 3 sets.

I must confess I got home that night and decided I wouldn’t be able to do the Fritton Triathlon and was ready to give it all up.

However some amazing friends really helped me, I really can’t thank them enough for listening to me worry, moan, mope and be a baby. They made me realise it was just a bad day and talked me into going back to the lake and try again.

I am so glad they did as lake swimming is a joy. You just need to relax and know that it seems like you are not moving but that is because you are not hitting a wall every 25m like in the pool.

I would say if you are new to Triathlons or are wanting to try one, go along to a training day. I learned so many handy tips that I still use and pass on to others to this day.

**Will cover more about transition hints and tips in another post**

You can swim breaststroke at Triathlons!

The last part of my Triathlon journey was the swim.

I enjoyed swimming at the gym pool, and spent the odd 30 minutes once a week or so gently swimming breaststroke. Not getting my head in the water or swimming very far.

However I wanted to get more confident and speed up a little, I figured the best way was to improve my stroke and get my head in the water.

So I invested in some googles and made a start. It was scary and difficult to begin with, I would breathe in and out when I lifted my head out of the water and found swimming for more than 2/3 lengths so difficult and trying.

In the end I figured out that I could breathe out when my head was submerged, it was tough to start with and I really had to concentrate but over time it got more and more natural. It then meant I could take a deeper breathe when my head was raised as I wasn’t breathing out, as well as in.

Over the next few weeks and months I increased the amount of lengths I could swim with out stopping from 5 to 25 (500m) and eventually to 50 (1k).

If like me you are new to swimming, I would say do whatever swimming stroke feels natural. Front crawl or breaststroke are both fast swimming techniques and allowed at Triathlons. I had read so many posts saying “you can’t swim breaststroke at a Triathlon” but that just isn’t true.

The swim is a small part of a Triathlon so don’t worry about the time and just get through it. Too many people let the swim section put them off, however you just need to relax and enjoy it.

Up next….I went to a Triathlon training day. That’s when the fun really started!!

Like riding a bike 

Back to my Triathlon Journey. 

I hadn’t rode a bike since middle school however I had been using a stationary bike at the gym for probably a few months. Cycling 30 minutes a couple of times a week. So I wasn’t too worried about the cycling part of Tri. 

The end of April arrived and I finally purchase a bike. I didn’t have much money or a clue about bikes, however I ended up with this hybrid cycle for a reasonable price – http://www.argos.co.uk/m/static/Product/partNumber/3324219/searchTerm/Hybrid+cross.htm

So out I went into the real world on my shinney new bike and was surprised at how different cycling is outside of the gym. I know it seems obvious however in my lovely world of denial I didn’t even consider

  1. Gym seats are like arm chairs compared to real bike seats
  2. You can’t change the difficulty level of a hill
  3. Wind is evil
  4. Changing gears is hard work

All of that being said after the first few nervous trips out I really did start to enjoy cycling on the road. It wasn’t boring like the gym and being out in the countryside on a nice sunny day is just fantastic. 

What I do really want to stress with this post is you don’t need an expensive road bike to enjoy cycling. I did my Triathlon on this bike (will talk more about this later) and it was absolutely fine. I wasn’t the only one without a road bike and I didn’t get left behind. 

Please don’t feel under pressure to have a fancy bike. Just get what you feel comfortable with and enjoying cycling.  

Parkrun is amazing

So…..I finally managed to complete the 0 to 5k app. After doing week 4 over and over again I managed to get there!! I could jog non-stop for 25/30 mins. Having asthma this was something I thought was impossible.

However this was all in the safety of a gym. Where it was cool and controlled and easy-ish.

It was April 2014 and only 2 months away from the Triathlon I was still in denial about. When my friend Rebecca suggested we go to “parkrun” together.

It was a 5k organised run around Fritton Lake where the triathlon would be taking place and free!

I was terrified but didn’t want to let my friend down so said yes.

The Saturday morning approached way too quickly and I was so scared! The thoughts running through my head were…

1. How will I know where to go

2. What about if I am last

3. Can I even run 5k

4. Everyone is going to laugh at me

However all my fears were for nothing. Everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was fantastic.

I didn’t get lost, I wasn’t last and I managed to jog all the way round. Here is a link to the results – http://www.parkrun.org.uk/frittonlake/results/weeklyresults/?runSeqNumber=101

I can honestly say that parkrun has changed my life. I have now completed 23 parkrun and my time has gone down from 33:19 down to 26:20.  http://www.parkrun.org.uk/results/athleteresultshistory/?athleteNumber=936047

It isn’t a race, you don’t have to run it and I promise you won’t regret giving it a go.

There are 56,609 parkruns worldwide. http://www.parkrun.com/

Background and getting started

Let’s just start by saying I wasn’t the most active person in the word.

I work in an office and have a bad habit of not leaving my desk.

I drive to and from work.

My hobbies used to be playing computer games or reading with usually a glass of wine.

So as you can imagine it was difficult making the leap and trying to change my habits.

I had been a gym member for the past year and mostly/sometimes went twice a week. Where I mostly walked on the treadmill.

However when 2014 started I knew I had to make a change. I therefore downloaded a 0 to 5k running app. It is an 8 week plan that you can do for around 30 mins, 3 times a week.

Terrified and certain of failure I made a start.

How it all began

I can’t remember exactly when it happened but it was late 2013 and I was round my friend Rebecca’s.

She had recently moved back to Lowestoft and we were having a nice glass of wine. Talked moved to Rebecca wanting to get her fitness back after giving birth to Sebastian.

Somehow this ended up with me agreeing to do a Triathlon with her the very next June.

Having all the courage in the world that a few glasses of wine gives you….I stupidly thought……how hard could doing one be?

Hello

Hi and welcome.

I was asked to start this blog by a few people.

I’m not very good at putting my thoughts into words so please bear with me. I promise to be honest and open, hopefully helpful….in return please forgive me for my poor grammar.

I plan to talk about Triathlon’s, running & stuff! Hopefully give help and advice to other people like me who might be thinking of starting running or trying a Triathlon.

Last year I started training for and taking part in Triathlon’s, parkrun & other sporting events.

I even joined a Triathlon club and am currently learning front crawl. All my Triathlons so far have been completed doing breaststroke.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, I am open to feedback and suggestions so please comment or message me directly.

Thanks

Suz