2017 London Triathlon

We were particularly looking forward to this race! As you know we don’t often get to do our events together as we live so far apart so this was a great opportunity for us to catch up and race at one of the biggest triathlons ever.

Saturday night Jenni came to stay with me and we headed out for dinner and a chat whilst my ever helpful boyfriend Adam checked our bikes over! After dinner we packed all our kit and we were even more excited as this would be our first race in our custom kit! We had designed a logo and then with the help of 2XU we designed full custom kit, Tri suits, bib shorts, cycle jerseys and running vests. We had eagerly been awaiting the arrival of this kit and we were not disappointed. The printing is fantastic and it’s all amazing quality! We love it and couldn’t wait to race in it!

Our start time was 7.40am, this meant an early alarm for us. 4.45am, alarms went off and we got up and tried to eat some breakfast, packed all our stuff into the car and we were off. Luckily I don’t live too far from the event so it was only about half an hour to drive.

Once we arrived registration was very simple, just show ID and collect your timing  chip as all numbers and wristbands had been sent out by post. We moved quickly into bike racking which was super well organised – it’s such a luxury to have a fully indoor transition area!

Bikes racked we went outside to have a look at the swim course. The course looks a long way all mapped out in one loop but it was well marked with buoys and lots of kayakers for water safety, our only concern was it was quite cold outside, this could mean it would be a chilly start to the bike!

The London Triathlon is a busy event and we knew lots of people taking part, a number of those people were in the same wave as us so we had plenty of friendly faces around as we got into our wetsuits and got ready to start.

Then it was time to start! I’m always a nervous swimmer in open water especially at the start, but once the swim was underway I actually felt quite relaxed, I took an inside line that surprisingly wasn’t too crowded and it made it easier to sight as there was a yellow rope strung buoy to buoy so I didn’t have to keep looking up for the buoys.

Just over 33mins later and the swim was over, wetsuit off, into transition. Then off out onto the bike. The course was a long loop up to Westminster in central london, then a smaller loop to finish. The course goes out and back so you can see all the other competitors on the other side of the road. I saw a number of people I knew on the bike leg, it’s so nice when someone goes past shouting encouragement.

We had quite a big group of supporters out watching us and I spotted them towards the end of my first lap. My boyfriend managed to take this slightly crazy looking photo of me. I was enjoying myself honestly!!

Bike done, just the run left to go. Now I haven’t done much running recently other than the Spitfire Scramble, iv been avoiding it, giving my ankle the best chance of fully healing, so I wasn’t looking forward to the 10km at the end of this race. I set off trying to make sure I didn’t go too fast, 10km can feel like a long way at the end of an event and I was determined to finish the run still running! Whilst out on the bike course I had passed and been passed by the same man a few times (I’m afraid I don’t know his name) but it turned out we were a similar run pace, so side by side we ran alongside the docks, listening to the music that was playing. I have to say for me the music was a great addition, last year the run felt a bit long and lonely outside by the docks, but this year the turn point was early, there was lots of music and the course had been extended inside the building. This felt weird at first but was actually quite good as I’m more determined when I know people can see me and there was no where to hide on the inside loop!

Just over 56mins later and it was all over… I was really proud of my run time. It finally feels like I’m starting to return to normal fitness levels and this is exciting for me!

I actually managed a PB at this event, despite a slightly slower bike leg my run was quicker than the year before and I came in at 2hrs 54mins and 36seconds!

I enjoyed the day, and I’m sure I’ll be back again next year. Local event, closed roads and a PB course… Yep, I’m hooked!

And even after racing in it for nearly 3 hours I am still in love with our new kit! Thanks 2XU!!!

Unfortunately for Jenni she had some issues with a back injury causing breathing problems in the swim, and despite the best efforts of the swim safety team and the Red Cross medics she was unable to continue her race. Huge thanks the the swim safety and Red Cross for looking after her! Hopefully she’ll be back next year too!


Spitfire Scramble 2017

The Spitfire Scramble was exactly 4 months to the day after my ankle operation…

I’d signed up as part of the lovely Scrambled Legs team almost a year ago, and obviously had no idea that when I got to the start I would have done almost no training due to injury, in fact quite the opposite, I had vowed to train and train well for this event. Best laid plans hey?

But on Saturday I started this event with some of the most amazing ladies I know, and I knew that whatever I managed would be accepted as ok, so there was really nothing to lose.

We had signed up as a team of 8, so that meant that following each lap we would have between 6-7hrs to recover whilst the others ran.

I was 3rd to go in our team so I started at about 1.30pm. I was quite apprehensive, I have only run a handful of times since my operation, and 5km had been the longest distance, each lap of Spitfire Scramble was just over 9km. Almost double the distance I had tried to run since the op.

I started my lap and had only gone a few hundred meters when someone shouted ‘is that you Helen?’ And running up behind me was Dave Sherman! He had completed a full distance triathlon the previous weekend at Challenge Roth, so I was quite surprised to see him out running an event so soon. Dave decided to run my lap with me, I was so glad of the company as I really wasn’t sure I could run a whole lap, but at the same time I didn’t want to slow Dave down. He is a very fast runner (super speedy when compared to me) but he reassured me that he didn’t want to go too fast as he was still recovering, so on we went.

The route was slightly different this year as they had moved the camping field to a bigger one. This massively improved the camping area and also made the run seem a bit easier as the section at the beginning was the bit I had found tough when it was at the end last year, getting it over and done with early suited me.

Running along next to Dave, chatting, taking awful looking selfies and not thinking too much about whether I could or couldn’t make it meant the lap past quite quickly for me, and just under 53 minutes later I was back in camp! Lap 1 completed successfully! No one could have been more shocked than I was!

A few hours of eating, relaxing with the girls and cheering people on and some glitter application later and it was time for lap 2…

I was super lucky with my lap times and lap 2 coincided with sunset. I managed to keep up an almost identical pace during my 2nd lap which shocked me, I had been prepared to be a lot slower, apparently not! Towards the end of the lap there is a hill, described by our team as the hill that keeps on giving… this is because it climbs and turns and climbs and turns and climbs and turns again… you get the idea? Evil as this may be the hill does provide some stunning views once you get to the top! And I managed to take some photos of the view during this lap…

Gorgeous hey? Following the hill it was approximately 1km mostly down hill back towards the start/finish area.

After my 2nd lap it was time for some more food, and to try and get some rest as without any the early morning lap would be super tough. Turns out sleeping in a tent when it’s warm and lots of people are running or waking up to run isn’t actually that easy, but I managed a 2-3hours of snoozing before getting up at 3am!

I started my final lap at 4.20am, just as the sky was starting to lighten and I finished it just under an hour later. This time the view from the top of the hill was the sun rising and it truly was a beautiful sunrise!

This was my running done for the day as there wouldn’t be a need for me to run a 4th lap, I was quite pleased about this as my third lap had been a few minutes slower than my previous 2 due to me walking a few sections and I am sure a 4th lap would have resulted in more walking than running! 2 amazing ladies in our group (Danielle and Sophie) did run 4 laps however, and they are incredible!

As a team we completed 26 laps during the event and this put us in 6th place in a very tough field of 13 all female teams. We are all very proud of ourselves and each other.

After the camp was packed away I had a long nap yesterday afternoon, this was followed by a lot of food from Dominos!

This was then followed by a very early night, I was in bed by 7.30pm! But I woke up this morning feeling surprisingly ok and still very happy!

The Spitfire Scramble is done… Until next year of course!