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May « 2009 « Abigail Bayley's Blog

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Archive for May, 2009

Inspiration take 2

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I have always enjoyed the Christmas re-runs of the 100 best horror films or the 100 best singles of all time etc etc. I spent a lot of time in the silent study area at college, studying …. I ate my lunch in the language laboratory to listen to French TV …. All fine proof that I am a true geek. So in the spirit of this revelation I decided I wanted to share a few top 5’s with cyberspace and my first is inspirational sports performances.
England’s victory in the Ashes 2005 is my number 5 choice for capturing the attention of a nation and still being just dull old cricket. This is a controversial choice with Aussie and non cricket fan Steve. I too am normally horrified when my dad insists on watching another test match that seems to go on forever and that we are sure to lose or even worse draw! However, in the summer of 2005 the series really gripped the nation and I can distinctly remember literally sitting on the edge of the couch watching it. Impressive for cricket! And depressing too because after their greatest triumph the team proceeded to fall apart. Very British.

ASHES 2005
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4th on my list is Alistair Brownlee’s performance at the Beijing Olympics. The first time I saw this young man was at the Royal Windsor Tri. It is one of the biggest and most prestigious races in the UK and is often a selection race for one Olympic Distance Championship or another. First sight I got was a tall gangly looking boy out in front on the run ahead of all the top English contenders. He was just trying so hard and going so fast and it was such a surprise to me (and I am sure his competitors too). I had no idea who he was. Turns out he got caught but he was, I believe, just 17 at the time and this was possibly his first attempt at the distance. Fast forward a couple of years and he was doing the same thing at the Beijing Olympics. He doesn’t seem to care who else is on the start line he just goes for it. Turns out he got caught again … maybe he could have raced smarter but certainly not harder. Roll on 2012.

Paula Radcliffe‘s first senior title at the World Cross Country is number 3 on my list. She was the undisputed heroine of English distance running but always the also ran on the international stage until this race and it was normally her sprint finish, or people said her lack thereof, that let her down. She was always second best to the dominant Africans but in Ostend, Belgium in 2001 in all the mud and gore she fought back and won in a sprint finish no less! There is a photo of her that explains the emotion behind that win, relief and absolute exultation. Finally she has proven herself and in 2002 she unleashed her winning self in incredibly dramatic style most outstandingly with her 2.15 marathon world record.

The runner up for inspirational sports performance is a legend in my triathlon world. The Boss described Chris Legh as “all heart” and his performance in Kona in 1997 proved that statement beyond a shadow of a doubt. He literally pushed himself so hard that he needed surgery to fix him. The footage of his breakdown just hundreds of metres from the finish line is heartbreaking. Luckily for him he went on to sort out his hydration issues and still competes and wins at the highest level in triathlon today.

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My number one choice has to be Cathy Freeman’s victory at the Sydney Olympics 2000 . The pressure and expectations of both a nation and a people were on her shoulders. To see her run and win the 400m still gives me goosebumps. When she sits on the track at the finish she looks slightly lost and staggered not quite able to take in what she has achieved. She would never be the same person or athlete after this race.

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Lessons at the Chateau de StAbi, Swiss

Sunday, May 31st, 2009
The Chateau de StAbi is Steve and my affectionate term for our shoebox size room in the Swiss Alps.  I think our first lesson learnt  is that so far we can survive in the smallest room in the world (or at least in Switzerland) and not want to kill each other (much) (yet) (!!!!). Good to know.
kitchen, lounge, bedroom

kitchen, lounge, bedroom

Next, cows in Switzerland really do wear bells! We often hear them on our way up to the pool or out on a run and you can’t imagine where they possibly could be. There they are though perched on a near vertical slope eating happily.

cow, bells, big mountains

cow, bells, big mountains

 It’s true the Swiss love cheese and fondu is a near obsession. Even the Chateau de StAbi came equipped with its own fondu machine!!

Easy rides are not easy in the Alps and even saying that I definitely prefer going up hills to down them. I am, as my dad liked to call me growing up trying to learn to rollerskate and ride a bike, a CHICKEN!

I need to pay better attention to vehicular traffic, trains and cars especially as both seem out to kill me if I am stupid enough to let them. Good job I got some sense bumped into me on Saturday.

they look friendly but really they are not

they look friendly but really they are not

Finally, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence but most of the time this is because it rains a lot! Luck is just luck, you choose whether it is good or bad.

Inspiration

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

I have always enjoyed the Christmas re-runs of the 100 best horror films or the 100 best singles of all time etc etc. I spent a lot of time in the silent study area at college, studying and I ate my lunch in the language laboratory to listen to French TV …. All fine proof that I am a true geek.  So in the spirit of this revelation I decided I wanted to share a few top 5’s with cyberspace and my first is inspirational sports performances.

England’s victory in the Ashes 2005 is my number 5 choice for capturing the attention of a nation and still being just dull old cricket. This is a controversial choice with Aussie and non cricket fan Steve. I too am normally horrified when my dad insists on watching another test match that seems to go on forever and that we are sure to lose or even worse draw! However, in the summer of 2005 the series really gripped the nation and I can distinctly remember literally sitting on the edge of the couch watching it. Impressive for cricket! And depressing too because after their greatest triumph the team proceeded to fall apart. Very British.

ASHES – 2005

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCTw6jfNaOE

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgStAPQhA3M

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwhJlgIy77o

You know you are losing it when ….

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

… you start laughing quite hysterically at Steve’s very corny joke.

We have started a bit of a tradition of going to the co-op for a cold drink post training and sitting like slightly lost hikers on the steps outside enjoying the view of the Alps.  Well today we also bought some turkey …

ABI:  Shall we go then?

STEVE: Yeah we should leave before the turkey starts to go foul

ABI: Hillarious laughter for about 5 minutes.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

Quote of the day from the Swiss Alps

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
big mountains everywhere!

big mountains everywhere!

“Whenever I look up, all I see is mountain”.

Truer words have never been spoken!!!  The quote comes from a Swiss rider we stopped for directions on one of our “easier” rides.  We were looking for a road through the valley but he knew nothing about it … he pointed left to the col des mosses,  right to the col de la croix and straight on to the col du pillon.

I love it here!

The Mother Country

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Training for triathlon in the UK is definitely doing it the hard way as I discovered on my 10 day trip back to the Mother Country en route to Switzerland. The Boss’ first email to me stressed just concentrate on not getting knocked off your bike. An instruction I was quite keen to follow. Well, mission accomplished. Of course I did ride the trainer almost every day … as much to avoid the rain as the traffic though. Yes, it did rain. A lot.

Steve and I also fell foul of the strictest pool in the world. No watches, you could take someone’s eye out, no paddles you might improve your swimming too much. Of course I did work at this pool as a lifeguard (possibly the worst year of my life so far) so I did get to enforce my fair share of rules and took great delight in throwing out unruly children (meanie I know). Thank goodness I was so miserable though otherwise I might still be there.

But being home also had a lot of plus sides.

My mum’s amazing cooking – she has made bread for the last 25 years and there is nothing quite like it.

The bike escort I get on every run – my dad loves it especially when I tell him we are doing the hilly route. He only has to get off and push twice these days.

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My dad in the weymouth rain

The old training grounds. I did a big run at The Marsh, a 1970′s cinder track where I trained as a schoolgirl and where I did my first 600m race in the SW Dorset Schools race and realised I could go quite fast. It was here I earnt the nickname Abi Long Legs.

Plus I have almost Wongstar status in Weymouth!! My old work and school friends and swim club buddies always want to know where I have been and what is next. I almost feel interesting especially with the exotic and devastatingly attractive aussie boyfriend in tow!!!

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Another high point is the tea. Tea only tastes right in Blighty. Not sure if this is because it compliments the miserable cold weather so well or because the tea/milk/water combo is different. Whatever it is back home I am an incurable tea addict.

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Tea? or a nap maybe?

Most importantly though I got to spend time with my lovely family who I don’t get to see as much as I would like. They have been instrumental in helping me try and achieve my dreams whatever they may be. To me, they are the mother country.

Conquering the Beast

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be in the Caribbean to compete in the St Croix 70.3. The first thing that springs to most peoples minds when talking about this race is conquering The Beast, a 700m climb with an average gradient of 14% and a max of 21%. Nasty!! For me the climb was probably the highlight of my day … I felt much stronger than I ever have on this climb and it probably helped being a little lighter too!!!

On race day I swam, biked and ran my way to a disappointing 9th place but I did however learn 3 important lessons:

1. Deep section race wheels in a strong cross wind scare the life out of me (even when I am in the Caribbean).

2. You should always be your harshest critic but also your most loyal supporter.

3. The only beast I truly need to conquer is the one inside my head.