Thursday, 12 June 2014

Lauren's good news!

So it feels as though summer is finally here – well almost – this changeable weather keeps teasing us and especially those of us that tend to ride our bicycles quite a lot! On my last update I talked about the fact that I have had a rather unfortunate start to 2014 with various illnesses and that I was about to compete at the 2014 European Duathlon Championships so here is my race report…

On Friday 11th April a big bus load full of Cambridgeshire based Duathletes and their respective partners, parents and avid fans embarked on a road trip across the channel to Horst in the Netherlands for the 2014 European Duathlon Champs. We all managed to find accommodation based in Center Parcs in Horst which was an ideal base for the race.

The race consisted of 2 distances the long and the sprint. I raced in the Sprint distance in the female age category 30-34 (my first race in this age-group). I knew that I didn’t have the ideal preparation for this race and so decided that I was going to concentrate on enjoying it and not get too hung up on my final result. I was confident that I could put in a good bike performance but that my run would be what suffered the most and this held true. I finished in 8th place (a little disappointing as I was 6th last year – but in a differe
nt age category so a bit tougher this year) but on analysis of my overall time I was only 50 seconds down on last year’s race and therefore cannot be too down hearted about it. As I mentioned in my last blog I had the Worlds to try to get fit for and so that was my new aim. Just get fit!

A part of me ‘getting fit’ involved my BUPA health check that I receive as an employee of Spire Healthcare. It revealed that I have the lung age of a 58 year old (which was assessed through basic peak flow measurements) and as you can imagine as an athlete this came as quite a shock! It does however explain why I have been under-performing and not feeling well and it was suggested that I have what is called Post Viral Asthma. Blood tests and X Rays came back clear and actually with some extended rest, I have not as of yet had to take any medication and think that I am starting to come out the other side.

During my ‘rest’ period I was very fortunate to be invited out to Canada to be the Physiotherapist for the Great Britain Diving team that were competing at a Grand Prix event in Quebec. This was a great opportunity to work alongside some of our Olympic athletes and future hopefuls and the first time I have worked with Divers in a competitive environment and they certainly kept me busy poolside! I managed to squeeze in a few quality run sessions (that were actually along the run route of last year’s World champs that were held in Ottawa) and my data revealed that I was indeed starting to pick up my pace which was encouraging.

As I continued to feel better, I upped the training a little and took part in a sprint triathlon back home in Nottingham at the beginning of May. I raced well and felt as though I was starting to get back into shape and ended up winning my age group and was 5th female overall. This gave me confidence that only a few weeks out from Worlds my performances were starting to pick up. Throughout this time I must give a special mention to my boyfriend Tom Vickery who I must say has been a true inspiration and a real driving force in improving my performance. He very kindly bought me an amazing Garmin triathlon specific training computer that basically tracks my every move whilst swimming, cycling and running and has been very interesting to analyse my training and racing and is really helping me to up the ante. This data can be uploaded to an App called Strava that most competitive triathletes/cyclists/runners use to keep an eye on their statistics and follow other athlete’s daily training (it is like the Facebook for athletes!). You can follow us both on the App if there are any avid Strava fans amongst you!

So next stop –2014 World Duathlon Championships, Pontevedra, Spain. I had a lot to prove to myself at this race. 2013’s Worlds I had food poisoning so had an awful race and after this year’s Europeans wanted retribution! And I got it. I managed to finish in 3rd place in my age category and 8th Female overall out of 175 women. This is my first international medal and I feel so incredibly proud to own it! I had an amazing race, recording a Personal Best performance and had the quickest bike split in my age group which I am also incredibly chuffed with as I have been working really hard on the bike. I can now see where I need to improve – need to get quicker at running and especially running off the bike but it felt so good to be fighting for a medal – it felt like a proper race! Because of my placing I have pre-qualified for next year’s World Championships in Adelaide, Australia which will be amazing! Need to go for Gold now =)

So what’s next…. I have the Cambridge triathlon in 2 weeks which will actually be my first Olympic distance triathlon – so I am excited to see how I fair at that distance. I am then going off to Morzine with Tom and some close friends for a ‘training camp’ (not a holiday) to get some good solid bike miles in the legs and train the mountains – I cannot wait! I have a Half Ironman race called the Vitruvian which is based in Rutland Water at the end of August and so I need to get out of sprint mode and onto the long train! I am hoping to enter a full Ironman race next year so this could be the beginning of the end….!

Until next time =)