There are two matters to address in this post, so I apologise in advance for the inevitability of the word count climbing sky high. But I have a lot to tell you about…so here we go. For once we’ll be logical and start with the past, and then look forward to the future.
Crete Holiday 2017
Last week my dad, Rachel, brother and I jetted off to the north coast of to Crete for a much needed holiday. With temperatures of 35 degrees throughout our stay, swimming in either the sea or pool every so often was an absolute must. This was my second time staying in a hotel, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I’m very excited to share the short film I have made of my stay at the end of this post. I apologise for the music though, it was the best I could find that fitted into the non-copyrighted criteria.
The breakfast spread was incredible, and I was quick to find my favourite combination of scrambled eggs, pancakes, honey, and oats topped with fresh fruit and sheep’s yoghurt. Moving onto lunch, this usually took the form of a two course meal with the first including a meat from the grill, slices of bread and greek salad, and the second being a bowl of ice cream with all the toppings!
And finally, dinner was a three or four course affair with a starter of bread, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and salad. There were a multitude of mains to choose from, and after the initial dinner of piling a random collection of food onto my plate, I managed to teach myself to choose something that actually resembled a meal rather than a mishmash dish of pastas, chicken, lamb kofta, fish, and stews. Dessert ended up being both James’ and I’s favourite course of the day. The same options as lunch were available, but we tended to take more of the little pudding pots, cakes and fresh fruit. And then would also go back for second helpings!
In terms of daily activities, I took part in only the volleyball and boccia whereas James was always present at the waterpolo, football, table tennis…(the list continues). The rest of the time was spent floating in the sea and towards the end of the holiday I met up with phoebe (@bees_fitness) and practised a little yoga. This was the first time I had ever met someone through instagram (complete coincidence of staying in same resort), and it really was lovely.
There’s one thing I haven’t mentioned though, and that’s the fact that I haven’t done any sport all week. Actually I should probably rephrase that by saying any ‘scheduled training‘. There’s a big difference. Just like I would at the end of the track season, I took a good old break from cross training and really enjoyed it because I had the time to pack in a real ‘holiday experience’ without the monotony of gym work. The original plan was to practise sea swimming, but after a 30 minute swim on the first day, my eyes were irritated and felt really raw due to the salty sea. Therefore I stopped with the ‘proper’ swimming and spent most of the time bobbing about, looking at the fish, or jumping of various rocks/platforms. It was lovely to feel so relaxed almost the whole holiday.
I say almost, because there was one night where I genuinely feared that my life was going to end. When I say ‘fear’, I mean that this was the most scared I had ever been in my entire life. And I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. I promise! To cut a very long and sleepless night short, at 11.30pm on Saturday the whole room started shaking which of course lead to me to start freaking out due to the possibility of it being an earthquake. At this point I hadn’t experienced a quake and so was unsure what it might feel like. Anyone who knows me will know about my clearly defined fear list. The top three are in order as follows: kidnapping, spiders, tsunamis- and as you might have guessed, an earthquake could open up the possibility of fear number 3 taking place. And this would NOT be a good thing.
My worries were confirmed when my phone buzzed with the news that a 5.4 magnitude earthquake had just taken place about 8km south of Crete (I had already signed up to quake alerts, naturally). There were then three subsequent aftershocks.
Now you’re probably thinking that a 5.4 might shake the room, but surely the earthquake would need to be much higher up the richter scale in order to cause a tsunami? I knew this too, but my main concern was that this would trigger a larger quake that would in turn trigger the giant mediterranean tsunami that is predicted to swallow up Crete and transform it into an ‘atlantis’ like the internet warned me about. Top tip: in times of crisis NEVER look up information on the internet.
With shaking legs, a sky high heart beat and earthquake alerts to follow, sleep seemed to be a long way off…until about 4am when I realised that rest would be essential should I need to be alert during a future event. The next day I sorted out my highest points to climb should anything happen- after which I felt much, much calmer, especially after a couple of beach naps.
Only I could create so much drama out of a weak earthquake.
Anyway, apart from this incident I absolutely loved Crete. It made a really nice change to stay in a hotel rather than a villa, and it wasn’t very busy because most schools were yet to break up. I’m now back in the UK and the only problem is getting used to having just one or two plates at mealtimes again. And also making my own food. And also not being able to swim in the sea. And also…okay I’m going to stop there.
My holiday video is below. It should be more exciting than previous videos because we brought dad’s GoPro which is waterproof!
Training for the Brighton and Hove Triathlon
I have previously mentioned my triathlon plans, but I wanted to focus this post on talking a little more about them. I’ve kindly been granted entry to the Brighton and Hove Triathlon on the 17th of September, and so am very excited to tell you what it’ll be like from a runner’s point of view. Still recovering from my stress fracture, there are definite positives and negatives to this.
Firstly, the swimming and biking elements, which would usually be my weaknesses, will have now strengthened and I actually feel relatively confident (kind of…) going in for these sections of the race. I’ve spent the last 6-7 months in the pool, and the last 4 months doing at least 2 turbo sessions a week so I’m definitely hoping it will have counted for something! I know that I didn’t specifically go for ‘sea swims’ Crete, but I did spent a large amount of time in the open water so I’m pretty sure this will help when I take off from the sands for the first leg of the race come September.
But the negative…well there is the small issue that I haven’t been able to run for longer than 15 minutes since umm… January. Fortunately my mum and I have finally managed to book an MRI for later this week, and I will receive the results two weeks after. At the same time I am also lucky enough to have booked a DXA (bone density) scan which is something I’m really keen to check out. Most runners would have been back running months ago so I want to cover all angles! I’m praying that I will be okay to run along the sea front for the final section of the race. Of course I would love to fully complete the triathlon, but at the end of the day there’s nothing I can do about it if my foot still isn’t up to running the full distance, so I will just have to wait and see how it goes.
But enough about my injury woes: more about the triathlon and training. This particular event takes place in Hove (directly next to Brighton) and offers multiple different race distances. Much to my disappointment I had to sit out the scootathon race (gutted), but have instead chosen the 15-17 year old sprint distance. This compromises of a 750m sea swim (nervous? yes!), a 20km bike ride (doable) and a 5km run. In terms of training gear, I’ve tried to keep the cost down because a couple of weeks after the event I’ll be seventeen which means driving lessons and insurance, so I’ve gone for the more basic approach. Let’s face it, I’m not exactly an elite triathlete. I’ll be using my surfing wetsuit, and either borrowing my dad’s bike (see picture below!) or using my own road bike which is very heavy and often breaks (just like it did in my last triathlon).
This particular sprint distance comes at a price of £55 per participant which seems like a lot for myself because for club races I don’t usually pay, but in terms of triathlon races I think this is the norm. The deal is that you rack your bike on the Saturday before, and if you live too far away to make two trips, you can stay over night in the race recommended accommodation which involves a pasta party and breakfast. Even if you’re not racing, I would just go for the pasta party alone because let’s be honest it sounds amazing.
Going into a little more detail about my training schedule, at the moment I’m significantly limited because of my foot issues. However on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays I tend to turbo train using my Elite trainer, and then on Tuesdays, Sundays and Thursdays (if I don’t cycle), I’ll be down at the pool. My longer swim will be on Sunday where I’ll alternate for around 50minutes between 10 minutes of front crawl and 10 minutes of pull buoy which gives my foot a mini break because my arms are doing all the work (but then my arms=dead which isn’t too fun!). The mid-week swims are more of a warm up for aqua jogging and water foot drills so in total they’re only take about 25 minutes in which I’ll cover around 50 lengths.
I’ll be writing up a training update for you guys about two weeks before the event. Hopefully my foot will have allowed my training to advance more by then, so it won’t be all of the same old same old that I have mentioned here.
One last thing, I’m thinking about attending the GO TRI Open Water Session on Saturday 9th September which costs £10- mainly because I don’t want to fail abysmally in the sea swim, and will need any extra experience that I can get!
Okay that’s all for now! Apologies again for the major word issue in this post and a huge congratulations if you made it to the end after all that rambling. As always, happy Sunday!