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Lucie Zelenkova's Blog

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3rd at IM Klagenfurt

July 7th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

I am just sitting at Starbucks coffe at Vienna airport, waiting for my flight back home to Johannesburg. Luckily here is wireless internet connection, so i am able to write short report about my race in Klagenfurt.

I had really good preparation in Leysin and i was looking forward to race again. Swim went according to plan, i swam with top guys. Unusually it was quite big pack – about 10 people and we were fighting almost whole way. After second buoy someone half opened my zip at my wetsuit but luckily it didnt give me any problem and i was able to stay in front. I left water as first girl and 4th overall. Yeah all the swimming with pull gears is working :-)
Once on bike i tried to maintain my lead but didnt feel my usual power. I came out of the bike together with Bella and Sonja Taisich and knew that i would have to have exceptional run to keep up with them. It was very hot on run and there were lot of spectators cheering around. I was trying to find my rhythm but struggled a bit. But positive thing is that even if i didnt have my best day, i finished 3rd in my PB 9:07.

It was very special to see all of us from Team TBB on podium, James has great day (but we all knew how good he can be :-) ). And family Bayliss was great as usual. Bella completely deserve to win and she did in 2nd fastest time ever at IM races.

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Klagenfurt, here we are :-)

July 4th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

After one year, I am back in Klagenfurt. Last year I finished here 5th in 9:13 and I hope to improve both, position and time. My training last few weeks went well and I was actually quite sad to leave Leysin yesterday. It is really lovely small and quiet place and I could easily imagine to live there.
Our way to Klagenfurt was long but went quickly, thanks to Erica car and James, who is good driver and good company too.
I got really nice accommodation in Hotel Seehotel Hofnersee, it is about 15km from race area, just next to small lake and camp full of children at holiday.
Today was usual Friday before the race, some rest, press conference, pre race briefing and interview for tv, short swim and even more rest. Getting ready for Sunday!

here are few pictures from today from my friend Pieter

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Cat story

July 1st, 2009 by luciezelenkova

I am real cat lover. I think we have it in family, my parents have two cats, my sister has two cats and I have one cat at home too. I am pretty sure that it will not take long time and I will have second one, my one seems to be lonely sometimes. Especially when I am away for longer time. I get so used to have Ballou (my cat) all the time around, sleeping in our bed and attacking our feet. This is his favorite game at 4 o clock in the morning :-)
When I arrived to Leysin and checked in my apartment, there was cat walking around. Later I found out that there are two of them here. You can imagine how happy I was, even more that both cats were really friendly and you could stroke them and carry them without problems. First week here, we were just missing each other and I almost didn’t see them at all. But then one day, one of them walked with me to my apartment. I shared with her really equally tin of tuna – she got tuna, I got empty tin… Since that time I have new roommate. Every day in shop I make sure I have enough of cat food. You could not believe how much she is able to eat. I even started to joke that she could be bulimic :-)media-101 Every time she eat whole plate (now special cat food, not tuna anymore), and after this, she leaves for a while and then come back and wants to eat even more. And then yesterday finally I saw I might be right, after eating whole plate again, she started throwing up everything. Yip, I know cats are just cleaning their stomach from hair ball this way. But just for sure I bought today different kind of food for her – of course better one. In the end, she is my roommate now and I want her to feel comfortable!
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Last few days she developed new habit and it is waking me up in the morning. I don’t need alarm anymore! She is touching me, walking on me, and all other things as long as I get up and filled her plate with food :-)

 

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Sightseeing ride

June 25th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

Today morning was again one of these hard swimming session. I had to admit, I was struggling, especially towards the end, my shoulders and arm were pretty sore and whole body tired. During the workouts with paddles, I was hardly moving. I learned to love paddles and all the pull gears and I have to say that my swimming improved a lot. I feel much stronger in the water, probably strongest I have ever been but today was just one of these day, when I really didn’t like the pool. So order from “doc” for the rest of the day was recovery and get ready for next few days of training. And because it was really nice day outside, sun shining and I really enjoy nature around, I was allowed to do easy sightseeing ride. I had choice of ride around Geneva Lake to Lausanne or Montreux. Both sounded really tempting but I choose Montreux. I was in Lausanne already few times, of course because of racing triathlon.

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Chateau de Chillon

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Geneva lake

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Freddie Mercury statue in Montreux

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proudly swiss

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back to the mountains

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some shopping on the way home. I didnt have any bag with me and one i got in shop was too small. So i have to find space everywhere – my pockets and under my cycling  jersey

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Leysin

June 11th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

My Tour de Europe continues and after racing in Austria, stay with my parents in Czech, racing in France (race report still coming), I finally made it to Leysin in Swiss. At first I wasn’t really happy to come, I wanted more to go back home to South Africa. But this changed completely since I arrived here. I am just in love with this place. Leysin is small town in altitude about 1300m and not far from Lausanne and this is short description I found about Leysin on internet – “Leysin at the foot of the Tour d’Aï which used because of its sun-rich and mild climate to be famous as a health resort for people with lung diseases since the fifties – Club Med opened a holiday club here in 1950 – has developed into an all-year holidary resort”. View from my window and actually from everywhere you are is just breathtaking. Mountains all around.

Here is just few pictures I made
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My previous home

June 5th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

Last 10 days I spent at my parents in Kadan, where I grow up. It was nice to be back and I really enjoyed to spend time with my family. Especially now, when I don’t have a chance to see them often. Except this and training, I was able to do lot of other things as well. I was twice at dentist, few visit at bank and other paper work. I also attended swimming race :-) . Once I was swimming and found out that my old swim club still exist and weekend I was there, they organized a swimming race. And asked me if I would come to give some prizes. Not a problem. And when I was there, in between training in small pool (about 16m), I started in 50m Butterfly – 32,8 and 100m Freestyle 1:03,8 in 50m long pool. Not my PB but not as bad too.

Here are few pictures from royal city Kadan

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one race done – 70,3 St. Polten, two more to go

May 25th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

I started my European trip with 70,3 IM St. Polten. I arrived there on Thursday morning, after sleepless flight over the night from Johannesburg via Zurich. When I waited for my luggage, I found out that my bike is still in Zurich. Ok, not a best start.

But since this time everything got better. I had accommodation in really nice hotel in the centre of St. Polten, organized transfer from airport and even my bike arrived with next flight. In the evening my dad came from Czech republic to help me and watch my race. About this I was really happy because it was already long time since he saw me racing and I know that he is my biggest fan. I hoped to have a good race also for him. I think it was only second time he left Czech republic and travelled abroad and I know that he was very nervous about this trip and driving so long way (450km).

Time before the race was flying and suddenly it was Sunday morning and I was standing on the pontoon, ready for start. Yes, start was from pontoon! Luckily only for pro athletes. But still it was more then 80 athletes on the start, men and women together. Oh well, I though I was used to this start from ITU races, it should be ok. No it wasn’t, all the guys were diving and starting faster then me so I found myself in the middle of field getting hits from all sides. Luckily after first buoy I got some more space for swimming and slowly but surely started passing some people. But with this swimming trouble didn’t end. In St. Polten they have a specialties and it is swimming in two lakes with about 300metres run in between. During this run I was passed again by some people. Swimming in second lake was finally good and just before exit I caught second pack with all the favorites and came out of the water as a first girl.

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yip, it is me, trying to get some water into my goggles :-)

Then I spend long time running around changing tent in first transition, looking for female enter and lost quite lot of time. When I finally jumped on my bike, all the guys I swam with were gone. Yip, lesson for next time, look properly in transition area before the race! Cycling part was in really nice nature. I tried to push from beginning as I knew there were some really speedy runners behind me and I wanted to come to second transition with some advantage. Just my legs wasn’t feeling strongest and after 30km my long time friend from ITU circuit Eva Dollinger caught me.Bike course was mostly flat or rolling hills with two big hills, second one after 60km, 10km long and I would say quite steep and hard. I was bit worried about this hills because climbing was never my strong point. But it seems to be changing and I started to feel better and stronger during this uphill and I was able to push. I finish bike still as first lady with Eva right behind me.

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We started running together, shoulder to shoulder like in old ITU days. And we run like this for whole first lap (10km). I felt really good and I was actually enjoying this run. I was aware of other girls not far behind us. Especially of Sandra Wallenhorst one of the fastest runner in long distance triathlon. She finished bike only 1:30 minutes behind us and unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Sandra passed us after 10km. I tried to run with her, but after few meters I had to let her go. Eva wasn’t able to speed up at all, so I was left alone on 2nd place and hold it till the finish line. I finish only 1:20min behind Sandra, with my so far best halfmarathon 1:24. I think I can say my running is improving a lot and I am sure this is still not the end.

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top four girls after the race

I am really happy about my race in St. Polten and I am looking forward for my next races Challenge France in two weeks and IM Klagenfurt beginning of July

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Why I like South Africa

May 20th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

1. I think that first reason is more than obvious. Because of my fiancée! I always liked SA when I was there for training camp. But he was reason why I moved here. When I say in Czech that my fiancée is south african, most of the people immediately think that he has to be black J But there are also some white people living in this country, as I found out it is almost 5 million of them. So just for everyone – my fiancée is white (adjective) white (noun) south african :-)

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2. Weather! Yip, this is good reason to stay in South Africa! When I moved here, used to European seasons, I was saying that here is summer whole year. Now I am getting bit spoilt and start complaining about cold in winter. Cold for south african mean that you have to wear jeans and long sleeve top during the day in winter, instead of only shorts and sleeveless t-shirt.

3. People! I don’t think I have ever met so many nice and friendly people like in this country. I am here bit more then one year but I can say that I have so many friends here and few really good friends. I am still amazed how people here are helping each other. I am really lucky to have all my friends here in my life! I will miss you guys when I am in Europe!

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4. Fruit and Biltong J. I am loving fruit and in Czech my choice was usually between apples and orange. Here the choice is much bigger and everything is fresh. My favorite now is mango, pineapple, papaya and all the fresh cut mix. And of course Biltong, sliced smoked meat, for me beef. Just be careful if you eat Biltong, chance that you will break your teeth is quite big (my own experience).

5. Passion for endurance sport. Once again, I must say I didn’t see in any other country so many people doing so many endurance events. Here are some really famous one.

Cape Argus Cycle Tour – 109 km cycle race hosted in Cape Town. With approximately 40,000 cyclists taking part, it is the world’s largest individually timed cycle race.
Comrades marathon – is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km.
Dusi canoe marathon – is 3 days canoe (or rather, kayak) race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban.
Cape epic mountain bike – is an annual 8-stage (9-day) mountain bike team race.
Ironman Port Elizabeth – only Ironman in Africa, Great organization. If you didn’t take part yet, you should start making plan :-)

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On the road again

May 19th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

I cant believe that it is already 6 weeks from IM SA. I had really nice time, enjoyed to be at home and train with my group. My training went really well, I was able to get back into it in much shorter time then after any IM before and put few weeks of good training in. Tomorrow I am leaving to Europe for another block of racing and training camp in Swiss. I will be away for almost 7 weeks and in this time I will be doing two Halfironman (70,3 Austria, Challenge France), Ironman Klagenfurt and training camp with my team TBB in Swiss. I am both – sad that I am leaving and excited that I will be racing again and I will see some of my teammates soon.

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My Cape Town weekend

May 7th, 2009 by luciezelenkova

Last weekend I spent in Cape Town. One of my good friend and two of best triathlete in South Africa were getting married there and I was invited. It was good excuse to leave Johannesburg for weekend and to come back to Cape Town after almost one year.
I left Friday morning and after two hours on plane I arrived to Cape Town. Weather forecast was raining for whole weekend, so I packed some warm clothes with me, expected the worst. But luckily, once again these forecast was wrong and since Friday afternoon, just on time for wedding, rain stopped, sky cleared and sun shined.
Wedding itself was really beautiful, it was my second south African wedding and again very nice and pleasant experience. It was also opportunity for me to buy new dress and high heel shoes. I think my first ever high shoes. So I was bit worried if I will be able to walk whole afternoon and evening without twisting my ankle and breaking my leg. To my surprise, it wasn’t as difficult, just bit sore experience for my feet  And I also think that dancing in these shoes is really great exercise for calf muscles (not sure if doc would agree with this theory.. ).
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Next morning I had bit difficulty to get up from warm bad to chilly morning and go run. But running route I choose was great reward. I run around Chapman´s Peak, very spectacular route. And great bonus is that this road is closed for traffic. So you are meeting there only cyclist, runners and walkers. But lot of them.

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Here is a picture of Chapman´s Peak. Who have ever been there understand that my whole run (and Sunday´s one as well) I run with this huge smile on my face and enjoyed it so much.

Now I am again back at home in Joburg, training hard and organizing my soon to be trip to Europe.

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