Your Stories

What: Inside Training Camp from the BMC-Vifit Long Distance Triathlon Team
Where: Kalmthout, Belgium
Long Description:

It’s been a year since I wrote my last blog, a lot has happened in that year (well except for blogs ;), this year I will try and at least double that side of last years antics!
In a snapshot of the year the main season went pretty well, when I was then given a bit of room for experimentation at the end of the year less so but hey that’s when you learn the biggest lessons for the following year and if just one person reading this can learn from it too then it was worth the blog slog 😉
My first race of last years season was a goodun, Lucy Charles kicking ass in the swim, Daniela Ryf dominating the bike and I was left to chase on the run but managed to cross that Challenge Gran Canaria line first and it showed the Spain training camp with my coaching team had shaped me up for a good start out.
Following that I had some good European wins and podiums and we pulled out of the Europeans to put in another good block prior to the World 70.3 Champs. To sharpen up for this we also chucked in the Worlds Duathlon where I came 3rd and World Championship Aquathlon which was good to win, then the 70.3 World Champs was a second place that I made no secret about how much it meant to me. So many people had put so much work in and supported me there in particular my coaches Michelle and Stu and my team BMC-Vifit Sport, training partner Alex Chikin and also muv back at home who was pretty much moving house for me! My housemate Jamie followed the Spanish sun (perhaps I raved about it too much!) and my loss was Malagas gain. I didn’t move far, just down the road from Michelle and Stu (all to do with training and nothing to do with amazing cooked dinners and a bed for post race party celebration sickness!). I had a week to get some sort of set up in London post Chattanooga before heading off to the Superleague which I don’t regret one bit, it was heaps of fun and I got my ass kicked royally, I think I sneezed in transition and they were gone but all good character building for the chase and every round I made through was a round of gin and tonics post race! We had flown back in a hurry trying to make Stus brothers wedding and hadn’t had any down time or proper post Chattanooga celebrations so I used Jersey as a bit of a blow out and then returned back to London to move pads properly!
This is where my Coach was a bit more lenient to my ideas, I was curious that our 3 week intense build up to the Worlds had elevated my performance so what would happen if we doubled this and I smashed out this six weeks in London prior to Island House and Bahrain, my closing season races because if you don’t give it a go you never know right!? All was going well and three weeks in I did a 10mile PB at the Cabbage Patch (a race where you win a cabbage, or if you place in vets and overall and Michelle came away with one for each hand). I felt like I was getting stronger each week, swimming in the morning, big miles in the day and hero-ing it out riding to the gym in the evening and back for my run work. Well I messed up, I got to Island House super tired and what should have been awesome experience felt like a struggle from the start. Then I went to Bahrain and I felt flat all day long, time for a season close doors!! I dragged my butt back to London and had a week of total down time, Christmas partying and social time, no planned training but just ticked the body along. It was here that I learnt the form hadn’t gone. Michelle and Stu took a much needed holiday and I bopped across to Lanzarote for a bit of fun in the sun warm weather training at Sands Active and perfect timing they had the Lanzarote Marathon on so I raced the half marathon mid training block and clocked a 73mins so lesson learnt, the longer the block the longer it takes for form to come out of it. I felt pretty fit and the following week got a bit carried away, lesson two came along fast behind lesson one! I did a hard treadmill session, really pushing it and feeling invincible, then decided to head straight out on the bike for my ride, not having drunk or eaten enough. High on life, I pushed hard up Mirador and don’t remember coming down. A car was following me and watched me swerving from side to side on the descent before face planting, I think it’s a good thing I was unconscious at the time. Sands Beach Active were amazing though and I don’t think staying anywhere on my own I could have felt much more at home, so thank you to everyone especially Juan Carlos and James Mitchell, true rockstars!
The repercussions other than a nice little scar on my face was being back in the same boat as three years ago with my broken clavicle. Heaps of painful land work until I could finally get in the pool three weeks later. BMC-Vifit were amazing and along with Michelle insisted we get to the bottom of my fainting episodes which had only ever happened on the run before. A combo of low HR, low blood pressure and low blood volume mean with the right hydration I can keep on top of it so if you long ride with me I might not stop for a coffee but defo for a wee 😉
Through a Christmas of rehabbing South Africa became an important goal for me to make as a startline and it might not have been my most ideal start to the season coming 3mins down out of the swim but I gave it my all to shoot for the win and blowing up big style was painfully satisfying to get back to that push after a frustrating six weeks and be back doing what a I love doing and massive congrats to Jeani on the win!!
Then in February the real stuff kicked off and we have now been in Spain for seven weeks and are just coming up to our last week here and every year it just gets better. We are constantly evolving the training and pushing the limits. There were a couple of breaks with a bout of flu, a trip to the HokaOneOne weekend and then our Warm Weather Training Camp for AG which is always a blast! The people that hold down a job, have a family and work their nuts off in training are the heros. To be surrounded by these people and take them through a week of full time training and watch them battle through personal hurdles and come out the other side stronger yet having had fun is such a top feeling! As coaches at Team Dillon we wont put anyone through what we haven’t tested on our bodies first and Michelle has decided this year to return to some racing and live as she coaches her athletes. I remember when I first started out working 8hours as a physio and fitting three sessions in around this, its not easy but it means we can relate to our athletes and emphasize the importance of life balance. Michelle has spent this block running her business, standing for hours coaching and then fitting in her training around this (and riding next to me handing me bottles on my long run isn’t counted on Strava). But I have managed to trick a magician by inviting Stu out to do the same and increasing his time in the saddle, that’s definitely coffee credit in his books!
I have one week full training left here and then we start knocking it back and the taper time in London im sure will involve a bit of magician training with Stu, I have definitely let my glamorous assistant act slip! The taper leads into my first race of the year South Africa ironman and my first ironman too J Then a pretty full calander to follow with a heap of 70.3’s, the main focus on the Worlds and hopefully a Kona qualification and my best friends wedding, I may not be the worlds most attentative bridesmaid but its right up there on the race importance Steph! 😉
So to summarise the last 12months I could just say always listen to my coaches Michelle and Stu, but with every wise head there always need to be a testing of the accepted. When the goal was hit for the main season do I regret testing out the next few months? Not at all because its part of the testing the limits, you have to know there will be a rise or a fall. My passion for the support is the ever evolving chase of my limits, the hunt to reach that deep dark place, to push through it and see how far you can go. If you hit a limit then you often fall but its also a result because it means you can problem solve to overcome that limiting factor and go back to aim for a higher rise. So my motto for this year is whether you rise or you fall, always respond the same, to come back hungry for more. Learn from what went well as much as you do from what when wrong and of course with a motto needs to come an annual anthem, if someone is calling you crazy your on the right line

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