Tag Archives: arm injury

More SOAS kit and Stuart is a winner!

21 May

I’ve been so busy with work (and am still struggling with pain in my right arm/shoulder) that I’ve not managed to blog as much as I’d hoped this week.

There’s a massive sale on right now on the SOAS website, with items reduced by 30%, 40%… or if you’re built a little more solidly then 50%! I couldn’t resist ordering myself some more items as my SOAS tri shorts are the most comfortable shorts that I’ve ever worn on my bike. The only problem is that I love everything matching and it’s so hard to choose between all of the cute designs. The sale is on to make way for some of the new designs that are on their way. here’s a sneak peek:

New SOAS kit being made

New SOAS kit being made

Yesterday, I was meant to go Open Water Swimming, but as my shoulder is still so painful, I don’t want to exacerbate it by doing front crawl, so I did a turbo trainer session instead. It included some one-legged drills, which I found incredibly difficult. I was annoyed by this as I can usually do them really well when I’m on the road. I also had to keep my cadence high – I don’t find that too bad when I’m in a big gear, but I just don’t seem to be cut out as a spinner. If anyone has any tips for me, I’d love to hear them!

Today I had a choice between running the RR10 (a local cross-country race) or doing an hour-long workout from my coach. I chose the latter for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I could get it over and done with more quickly! I was meant to do three 10 minute intervals at Half Marathon pace. I’m struggling to know what that is at the moment – my HM PB is 1:52:19 (5:18/km) and I think I ought to be able to do 2:00:00 as I ran just over that at Brighton Marathon recently (5:41/km). Unfortunately, I found it really difficult. My three intervals came out as 5:42; 5:39; 5:41, so they were fairly consistent, but definitely at the bottom end of what I was aiming for, and there’s no way I’d be able to sustain that for 2 hours 😦

I’m so glad that the weekend feels like it’s on its way as I’m exhausted by this week already!

Also, today my husband found out that he’d won a pair of Grandstand tickets from Dassi bikes to the ITU World Triathlon Series on London in just over a week’s time. Here’s the schedule for the day:

Saturday, 31 May 2014
06.45 – 07.45 Paratriathlon Swim / Bike Warm Up
07.00 – 18.00 Expo Open
07.00 – 18.00 Open Race Registration
07.00 – 18.00 Media Centre Open
08:00 Start Paratriathlon
10:45 – 11:00 Start Corporate Relay Challenge
12:30 – 12:50 Youth & Junior Aquathlon
13:30 – 14:15 Elite Men Swim Warm Up
14:30 Start Elite Men’s Race 
15:25 – 15:50 Elite Women Swim Warm Up
15:35 Elite Men Medal Ceremony
16:05 Start Elite Women’s Race
17:10 Elite Women Medal Ceremony

I’m really looking forward to having a day out!

What have you got to look forward to in the next few weeks?

Getting back on my bike

12 May

It was back to work today, which meant that I had to get back on my (hybrid) bike. I had thought that it would be easier than riding my road bike, but, unfortunately, I had forgotten how heavy my work bike is. Just the 3.5 mile journey to work was enough to bring tears to my eyes 😦

This afternoon, I cycled to the doctors, so that I could get my arm checked out. The diagnosis confirmed what I suspected: I’ve sprained my shoulder and my wrist. I was advised to rest for 2-3 weeks, which is a great idea, but I need to cycle to work every day, so it’s not possible. I also want to get on with my Challenge Weymouth training programme.

I also discussed my recent breathing difficulties and have to take some peak flow readings as the doctor thinks that I am displaying classic asthma symptoms 😦 I hope that this is resolved quickly!

The good news is that I can get a replacement for my lost SOAS Racing bottle, and I’ve also ordered some motivational reading to try to inspire me, so watch out for some reviews.

I’ve also received some more photos from my holiday. In case I sounded a bit negative about it all,  thought I’d include a photo of me looking happy as I reached the summit of Col D’Aspin:

Reaching the summit of Col D'Aspin

Reaching the summit of Col D’Aspin

Hopefully, I’ll manage to be this happy when I’m 100:


I also like this video:

Day 5 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

5 May

Day five had been labelled as ‘Mystery Monday’ – essentially it was a chance to change plan according to the weather, so it was decided that we would tackle Col D’Aspin.

Day 5 plan

Day 5 plan

The day started with a clear sky, so I was keen to get my trainers on.

farmhouse panorama

Morning run

Unfortunately, I was struggling to run because of my bruised leg and the pain in my arm. We got to a turning point and were given the option of extending the run into the woods. Graeme encouraged me and told me that it would be fun, but I was conscious that I would hold everyone up, so I refused.

morning run

Early morning run with Graeme

In hindsight, this was a mistake as the others who went into the woods seemed to have a lot of fun, but I was aware that my lack of ability meant that I was constantly holding the group up 😦

IMG_2639 IMG_2638

(There was an obstacle course in the woods, so people had a lot of fun there… including, Louise [above]).

We had porridge for breakfast again, but I was physically sick with fear. I was absolutely terrified about getting on my bike again. Fortunately, Graeme had thought hard about a plan and had worked out how all of the coaches could get out on their bikes and be able to pick me up form the top of the mountain.

I put my trainers in a bag and then we cycled up to a nearby industrial estate so that we could practise transitions. Again I felt frustrated by my injuries as I’ve practised my mount and spent a lot of time on my dismount (I’ve even used it in all of the races that I’ve done since I was in Lagos). Unfortunately, my inability to put any weight on my right arm meant that it was really difficult for me to balance myself properly on the bike. As soon as my arm has recovered, I’m going to find a quiet path/road somewhere that I can practise this.

Transition training

After the brief transition training session, we were joined by Louise and Bernadette, who’d had a little rest. We set off from the industrial estate and, before long, we were at a long downhill. My heart was in my mouth and I know that I was going very slowly, but I was really afraid.

Trip to Aspin

Finally, we were at the base of Aspin, where we were met by Alan with the van. Louise was doubtful that she would climb the mountain, but I encouraged her that we could do it. The start of the Col was quite gentle, so it lulled me into a false sense of security. I kept going and was determined that I would make it to the top, but was wondering when Alan would come past.

Rear view on the way to Aspin

Part way up the mountain, I could see a couple of men herding cows across the road. In my mind, I was urging the cows on, as I didn’t want to lose my momentum. Fortunately, they finished crossing the road just in time for me to go past.

For some reason, I thought the climb was 5km, which always sounds manageable as it’s the distance of parkrun. However, I realised that it was actually 12km (I had both numbers in my head). When I got to 5km, I felt that I was doing OK, so I continued.

Some time later, I saw a crazy cyclist coming down the hill at over 70km/h (43mph). I couldn’t believe how fast the figure in black was moving… until I realised that it was Graeme. He was heading down to get the van from Alan.

5km from the top, Graeme was waiting in a lay by with the van. It was a relief to see him. I needed to drink some water, but couldn’t reach the bottle with my bad arm. I decided to stop for a minute to stretch my legs and have a drink. I was a little worried about trying to start again as it’s never easy to clip in and get moving on an incline. Graeme helped me to set off again and said that he’d see me at the top.

My confidence started to fade, as it was incredibly hot, so I found a wall about 3km from the top (just in case I couldn’t unclip) and then drank some more water. I was aware that I was going slowly and getting tired in the heat.

At 1km from the top, I could see the summit, but it felt so far away. I paused again in the shade of a tree to drink the last of my water, before doing the final climb.

Reaching the summit of Col D'Aspin

Reaching the summit of Col D’Aspin © Embrace Sports

I could see my fellow triathletes waiting for me and felt so pleased that I had conquered the Col.


Made it!

Made it! © Embrace Sports

I was grateful that my bike is incredibly light as I was still unable to use my right arm properly!

I was grateful that my bike is incredibly light as I was still unable to use my right arm properly!

I wondered whether I would be able to cycle down, but knowing that there were some steep drops and hairpins, I knew that I wouldn’t be able t managed it, so I was relieved to get back in the van with Graeme and head back. I did wonder whether I would get out at the bottom for the final ride home, but in the end we headed straight back to the farm-house,

After arriving back early from Col D’Aspin, I helped Graeme in the kitchen. It was BBQ night, so there was plenty of chopping to be done. I wasn’t able to chop cabbage, but I was able to peel and slice the eggs, chop feta and prepare potatoes for wedges. I also made the veggie kebabs for Kat and I.

BBQ salads

BBQ Pyrenees

For me, this was the most successful day of the holiday and I felt a good sense of achievement.

Day 4 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports – the day when I crashed my bike

4 May

Day 4 started with a swim in the lake. We started off with some drills:

  • crocodile eyes sighting
  • raised head sighting for when there are waves
  • turn onto back to view others
  • 90 degree turns

The image below shows us practising turning around some markers (Graeme and Alan). Unfortunately, the continuing pain in my arm/shoulder meant that I found it very difficult. I tried to do some front crawl, but ended up doing 400m of kicking only. Fortunately, the temperature of the lake was quite pleasant, so it didn’t matter too much that I was only moving slowly.


The next activity was a long ride to Bagneres. The coaches had some fun taking  photos – Graeme has amazing balance and coordination!

Cycling up Palomieres

Cycling up Col de Palomieres

Towards Palomieres


After a short climb, we regrouped for a photo in front of Col de Tourmalet, one of the most famous climbs from the Tour de France.

View of Tourmalet from palomieres

At this point, the group divided, with Stu in the faster group and me in the slower group. We cycled to the top of Col de Palomieres, which had beautiful views, so we stopped for a few photos.


Col de Palomieres

Not content with ordinary photos, we also managed to create a human pyramid (although I struggled with my bad arm, which is why I look a bit squashed!)

Second celebratory pyramid


Unfortunately, the next section, where we started heading down the mountain, was where my holiday went wrong…

I had been concerned about my arm pain as it was difficult for me to grip the handle bars and brake. I realised that my speed was creeping over 40kmph, which might not sound fast to most people, but it was not something that I enjoyed. I tried to brake, but realised that I was not losing any speed. This made me feel stressed and I had to think of an action plan. I was getting faster and faster and could see a hairpin bend ahead. I realised that there were several options:

  • continue going down the mountain and hope that I would slow (unlikely)
  • continue going down the mountain knowing that I might not turn the corner and would therefore go over something even steeper (likely)
  • bail by hitting the only hedge in the vicinity

It was a tough decision as I knew that I was likely to get injured, no matter which option I chose, however, I was absolutely terrified of the consequences if I didn’t stop, so I had to take some action. After some of the longest and most frightening seconds of my life, I went into the hedge.

I remember screaming in fear, but I can’t say exactly what happened next except for a sharp pain in my arm. I hit the hedge and then just lay on the ground feeling completely dazed and breathless.

It wasn’t long before Kat and Alex caught up with me. I opened my eyes and saw one of my SOAS bottles rolling away, but that wasn’t my primary concern at that time. Kat sent Alex down to get Graeme and then encouraged me to sit up, but I was still in such a state of shock that I just wanted to lie still for a few seconds.

After about a minute, I sat up and then got up. I pulled my bike from the hedge and could see that I had entirely buckled the handlebars. Kat encouraged me to walk down the hill with her, so I started walking. She offered to take my damaged bike, but I was too afraid that I would drop her bike, so I continued with my bike. It quickly became clear that there was a problem with the brakes, so I tried to adjust them… but then I realised that I had buckled the wheel. In order to continue walking with my bike, I had to open the quick release mechanism on the brakes.

It didn’t take long before Graeme came back to us, so Kat continued down to the rest of the group. Graeme straightened out my handlebars and sorted out the brakes. I was still feeling panicky and was struggling to breathe, so I needed to use my inhaler. I realised that I had lost my water bottle, but didn’t want to cause any more fuss – fortunately, my Garmin was still attached, although it was at a strange angle. I walked a short distance with Graeme to where the rest of the group was waiting.

I managed to get back on my bike, although I could see some large bruises emerging. Kat and Graeme told me that there was still some of the incline to go. I then looked down the path, but realised that just the thought of heading downhill made me feel sick with panic and fear. I wanted to get off my bike, but didn’t manage to unclip in time, so for the third time this week, I hit the deck. I toppled to my right hand side and tried to avoid my injured elbow and shoulder, so managed to whack my head on the ground.

Lou was very sweet and came rushing up to help me up. I felt really stupid and as if I had failed, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get back on my bike because I was gripped by fear.

Kat called Neil who agreed that as soon as they got back he would come and pick me up. he rest of the group continued with the ride, whilst Kat and I removed our shoes and  started walking down the hill. I agreed that I would cycle up any hills that we got to. There were a few downhill sections, but unless they were very gentle and I could see the road ahead, I had to walk. I felt like such a failure, but was also in pain and really frightened.

It didn’t take too long for Neil to come back and pick me up. We put my bike in the van and Kat decided to continue with the ride, as she needed to get some training in.

When we were nearing Barthes de Neste, we saw Graeme and Lou, so I didn’t arrive back at the farmhouse much before the others.

It was a beautiful day, which didn’t really match my mood.


By the time I got back, my bruises were really starting to appear.

My left leg has a bruise the side of my hand on it.

My left leg has a bruise the side of my hand on it.

The worst bruise is on the inside of my right knee (and there are also bruises all of the way down the front of my right shin)

The worst bruise is on the inside of my right knee (and there are also bruises all of the way down the front of my right shin)

The outside of my right knee is also bruised

The outside of my right knee is also bruised

My leg hurt quite a bit, but not as much as my shoulder, so I decided that it would be prudent not to run.

Jose helping to fix my bike

Jose helping to fix my bike © Embrace Sports

In the evening, Alan and Neil served up some delicious Thai curries…

Thai curry night

… and we all stayed outside to admire the sunset.

Sunset at the farmhouse

Sunset at the farmhouse

Col de Tourmalet could be seen clearly

Col de Tourmalet could be seen clearly

Some of us went down to the road to get a better look at the views.


It was at this point that I realised that although I was in beautiful surroundings, it was not the right holiday for me. The level of challenge was too great and I had failed 😦