"I'll hae nae hauf-way hoose but aye be whaur extremes meet..." Hugh McDiarmid

Friday, 25 May 2012

tri disaster

well. it was the 'beat the heat' triathlon this morning in Azaiba. I was feeling quite good about it. one of my friends had loaned me her old road bike to use - the first tri I did here I used the mountain bike, it was *terrible* - and my running training had been going well.

all week my right ankle has been niggling at me when I walk. but it has been fine when I have been running. it's been quite weird, but I wasn't too worried about it.

however...this morning's tri did not go quite according to plan. first of all I had an awful swim. I went too wide to the first mark and ended up in the last half of the pack. I managed to take back a few places but not enough of a buffer. the bike went ok in that I managed to take some time off my first tri solely by being on a proper road bike. I didn't really get on with the bike though, I am sure now that drop bars are *not* for me... if I ever get a road/tri bike, it will have bullhorn bars I think. I have spent too many years riding flat bars to change now!

all the way round the 20km bike route, I felt my ankle twinge. on every pedal stroke. by the time I got to T2 it was quite sore. Julie from work had turned up to watch and as I changed from bike to running shoes I told her I was in some pain. but I started the run anyway. idiot.

so I get less than 500m into the run and I have to stop and walk. a combination of heat, humidity, being tired and not being able to put my foot down properly. I walk-run to the water station at halfway, where Jon is marshalling the runners. I have a quick moan about how sore it is, take a bottle of water and start to head back. the guy who won the tri is riding up and down the road on his bike cooling down and chasing stragglers (ie. me) when I go over on my ankle and swear quite loudly. he stops and asks what's wrong. by this time I am in tears - it's very sore and I am mightily cross with myself. he decides it's time to put me in Jon's car and get him to drive me back. I am raging. and gutted. I felt good about this tri for days. I feel like the bike made my ankle worse somehow and messed up the run. I don't know how, and it probably didn't, but that's how I am feeling.

I have spent most of today resting with my foot up, using a lot of biofreeze and deciding never to do tri again. I hope I change my mind, but I had plans for the summer. it looks like the half will be out in June too if this takes longer than a week to resolve.

on a positive note, we had the Midas guys here this week for a few days and between us we have fixed the entire system in the opera house :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

al-Fahal island swim

this morning was the fahal island swim. it was down to be the first fundraiser of my clipper adventure. unfortunately I didn't confirm my kayak/kayakers until the weekend, so I couldn't really publicise it that well :(

I did it anyway cos, you know, I'm that kind of girl :)

last night after work, I had an arabic class. I didn't get home til about 9.15pm after getting diesel and cash out etc, and still hadn't had my tea. I like to carb load before an event early in the morning cos I either a) can't get up in time for breakfast, or b) can't eat breakfast... so about 9.45pm last night I sat down to a massive plate of macaroni cheese (my all-time favourite) followed by a chocolate custard (don't judge me). eventually got to bed just after 11pm. woke up before my alarm about 4.45am and had breakfast - it was a register at 6am and swim at 7.30am so I figured it made sense.

the fahal swim is really well run. everything is very tightly timetabled and there isn't any time to get dead nervous :)

met up with my sea support and got them set off about 6.30am - they had to kayak out to the island before the race meaning they travelled about 9km total. thankfully they both had big wide-brimmed hats on so were easy to spot! we numbered off, got our photo taken on the beach and then ferried out to the island in a small fleet of motor boats. our guy let us stay on the boat til the last minute so we didn't waste any energy treading water...

the orange rib arrived, and we numbered off again to make sure everyone was there. then it was the start. first thing to do? find my kayak! considering there were around 90 swimmers, all with support, it was a bit of a melee for the first five minutes... there was 1.5knots of current this morning so we all had to head to the right hand side of the bay to avoid being swept round the corner into the oil refinery. jamie and mark (my kayakers) did a perfect job of aiming me so I didn't get stuck. all I was looking at was the hull underwater! it meant I didn't have to sight, which was good otherwise I'd probably still be out there, or in Iran...

there were loads of fish and stuff that I was trying not think about as well, but I did really well at not thinking about them :) the water was so clear I spent most of the swim being completely transfixed by my hands and the bubbles they left in the water... annoyingly my sea goggles leaked a bit, probably not tight enough. I ended up having to stop every 400m to empty them. mark reckoned I would have been under 1h30m if that hadn't happened :( someone at the end said we should take 8 minutes off our times to compensate for the current though, so it's not too bad :)

I would strongly recommend anybody doing an open water swim NOT to google 'sea snakes' the night before - it is just not going to end well. they are pretty big. even though I had read that they don't attack humans, my friend Lea told me this morning that if they do attack you, they kill you in ten minutes. thanks Lea...

I also never thought I would say to someone (and mean it) 'please don't tell me if you see anything in the water, unless you think it might eat me'.

it was a great event though and hopefully I'll do it next year - with a faster time :D

photos as soon as I find anyone who got any of me!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

biathlon news

so the biathlon was last thursday. it was pretty hot but not unbearable. the sea was really calm so the swim was ok. the run was fairly horrific though. I need to work on my running - get faster and build distance. in this heat and humidity (we went from 0 to about 80% overnight this week - helpful) intervals could be too hard. I think distance is more important to me at the moment, now I have signed up to do a half marathon on the 21st of june. also, a 'beat the heat' triathlon on the 25th of may. yes, 8 days after the 4km island swim. send help.

work-wise we are just getting through our maintenance lists. it is pretty luxurious to get a weekend every week! I have also *finally* started an arabic class. been here for 10 months and not learned any except vital words like thanks, enough, for the love of god etc...

I am starting to think about my sponsorship plan now. who to approach, how to approach them, what they could get out of it, what to ask for. there is a lot to consider. I don't want to promise too much, but at the same time I don't want to sell myself short. dilemma.

training is going ok. swim next week. have found a volunteer to kayak for me! just need to find them a kayak...

clipper-wise, I am now booked onto my level 1 and theory courses in august, so I will be in the uk briefly :) then straight back to start the second season in muscat.

I did put some (fairly embarrassing) photos up from the biathlon. thankfully none of the run! more will follow after the fahal swim :)