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Tamsin Lewis's Blog


Mind v. Body.

September 14th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

The first weekend in Sept. saw a Team TBB contigent head to the Lorraine region of France to compete in Triathlon de Gerardmer – a weekend ‘festival’ of triathlon events.

Heading out in the XL race (does XL here mean extra long or extra large… I’m not quite sure…but it was extra for sure!)… was myself, Xena, Emma Smith (online coaching athlete) and on the side of Les homes was Stephen Bayliss.

Gerardmer is a stunning place and the organisation of the event was nothing short of excellent…. Crowd support was awesome and the bike course by coming back into town every lap (for 3) meant that the spectators had a thrilling view of the race.

For me the race was a tough one…. The weeks leading up to the event have seen me in a bit of a funny place… with self-doubt creeping in to places where it wasn’t welcome and it had been a daily battle positive self talk to dampen down its hold. Reasons for this are multifactorial and I wont go into any detail – but life is a learning curve and like Alpe Duez there are steep bits and gentle slopes…. The steep bits are the ones that test you most.

The swim as you can see from the pic was a bit of a battle field. Positioning myself at the front in the middle, perhaps wasn’t the best choice as I quickly discovered as three different people literally pulled me under the water in attempt to ? get over the top of me… well I soon learnt… and got out to the side as soon as … which meant I was largely swimming out of my own … but some clever chappy managed to get on my feet and didn’t budge practically the whole way… this is fine… just don’t blimin pull me under ok?!

So swimming away and no one of the right speed to draft so tried to get my own rhythm…. And then up ahead I saw people getting out of the water at a big Powerbar sign which I thought (from the race briefing) we were meant to swim around?! Hmm…. Now this was at about (retrospectively thinking) 1400m so I’m thinking this is a reeeeeaaaallly short swim… I should have gone faster as still seemed to have a full tank .. so get out… and on Autopilot take my hat (neoprene plus other) and goggles off… eeeeeejit.
Shouts of c’est ne pas fini!! Then rang in my ears as I realised we had to run around and jump back in the water…. So slightly dizzy from standing quickly out of the water I attempted to un-scramble hat and goggle from each other and reassemble sur ma tete. This didn’t seem to want to happen with any ease and after what seemed like f o r e v e r (esp. with a cameraman protruding his lens in my distressed face) I threw them aside and jumped back in… swimming like a demon to try and get back in the race. Now I should have swam the whole 1900m like I swam the last 500m sans goggles/hat… bit of aggression there…
(that learning curve again)

Coming out was dizzy as a dodo with the effect of the cold water on a uncapped head which made for a wobbly transition.
The bike course was pretty awesome… and I kinda wish it had been a bit longer as started to feel stronger on the last lap. The run, well.. as I had been suffering from a hamstring injury over the past 4 weeks, my prep hadn’t been perfect so I started the run a little more conservatively that I usually would… hoping to build my pace. Well it never quite went to plan as I was in quite a bit of pain in my Right buttock… and the pain meant that negative internal dialogue started to creep in and I found myself battling with the will to finish on that podium and the voice telling me I couldn’t push any harder.

Coming off the bike I was in 3rd… and not knowing any of the French competitiors I wasn’t prepared to have 2 super strong runners come past me… Like I said I should have gone with them, but I didn’t and therein lies the paradox.

I was reflecting on the negative self dialogue that I’d been struggling with of late trying to change it, refocus and well HTFU. Flicking through this months’ article of Triathlete Magazine, I came across an article entitled….

href=”http://blogs.teamtbb.com/tamsinlewis/?attachment_id=137″ rel=”attachment wp-att-137″>
Definitely worth a read…
He begins talking about one of the most spectacular bonks in triathlon history at the 1995 Hawaii Ironman. Paula Newby Fraser having already won the race seven times, built a seemingly insurmountable 11-minute lead on the bike. But Karen Smyers came after her hard on the run, chipping away at the gap at more than 20 seconds per mile, mile after mile. With 10K to go, Newby Fraser still had three minutes in hand, but seeing how close Smyers had drawn, she panicked and began skipping aid stations. In the closing miles of the race her stride slowly tightened up, and then it fell apart. AS she descended the famous hill on Palani Road with scarcely two kilometres left to cover, she began to start weaving like a drunk driver.
She told journalists after the race:

“ I stopped at one point and said: “I can’t finish’. I was starting to lose consciousness. .. Why couldn’t I have kept going another 200 yards? But there was no way. I actually thought that I had given my life to this race and was going to die. When I sat down on the road, there was no way I could move. I said to myself ‘just take another step’, but there was no way I could do it”

Moments after Smyers passed a stationary Newby-Fraser(NF) on the homestretch, the utterly defeated champion collapsed, staying on the ground for 20 minutes before she recovered enough to walk to the line, now in fourth place.

Newby-Fraser posed an interesting questions. Indeed, why couldn’t she have just kept going another 200 or so yards to the finish line? One might speculate that slipping those last few aid stations caused her muscle energy stores to run dry and they shut down; or that feeling the pressure of the chasing Smyers had caused her to overreach and overheat;or that 10 hard years of triathlon had taken a toll on her body, which could no longer go as long and hard as it used to.

Exercise physiologist, Samuel Marcora would offer a rather different explanation for NF’s implosion within sight of the finish line. He would say she just plan QUIT. Her muscles were perfectly capable of getting her tp the finish line ahead of Karen Smyers. The feeling that she was physically incapable of taking another step was an illusion. She just couldn’t take the suffering anymore and over and over she told herself she couldn’t go on.

See it here!

So…… (and I know Doc will love to read this!)
Fatigue is all in your head. That is easy to say, but harder to convince yourself of when your legs are cramping and the pace has slowed to the trademark Ironman shuffle. But really, there is a theory in endurance sports that suggests that fatigue is not a product of bodily shutdown, but of the brain.

The traditional model of fatigue focused on peripheral factors. The idea was that the muscles in the legs and arms begin to fail due to lack of oxygen, glycogen or electrolytes and so we slow down accordingly. Tim Noakes, professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, was credited with pioneering a new model of fatigue, referred to as the Central Governor Model (CGM). This model asserts that physical exertion is controlled by the brain and not by the peripheral muscles. When the brain senses that reserves are getting low, it begins to shut down muscle fibre recruitment in order to protect the heart from damage done by lack of oxygen. So it is not your quads giving out underneath you, but it is actually your brain telling your muscles to take it easy to avoid a physical catastrophe. You’ll experience this reduction in neural recruitment as fatigue, but there is actually always an “emergency reserve” maintained in the muscles. It is similar to the fuel light coming on in a car: It motivates you to take precautions against running out of fuel, but realistically you can still drive a fair way on “empty” due to the buffer built by manufacturers, who know that a certain gender is hardwired to ignore the first few warnings and drive around on “E” until the situation gets really desperate. There are always a few athletes who can override this internal regulator—we have all seen images of athletes crawling to the finish, having ignored their bodily signals for so long that a peripheral breakdown really does occur.

Samantha McGlone –writing for Triathlete Europe suggests way of overcoming the fatigue demon….

I find the Central Governor Model comforting. It’s good to know that all that pain I am experiencing in a race isn’t actually doing irreversible damage to my muscles and systems. The pain is merely a strong suggestion that I might want to slow down and get some fuel and fluids in ASAP. With that knowledge, it’s easier to push past the comfort zone and well into the hurt locker. If you stop considering that pain is a bad thing, if you can remove yourself from the immediacy of the sensations and look at pain as an objective signal, like that gas indicator light, it becomes much easier to just grit your teeth and get to the finish line as fast as possible, which is really the best motivation of all’

Instead of the pain, focus on these five things:

1. Form: It’s hard to run properly when your legs feel like lead, but thinking about form cues will increase efficiency and help recruit the strongest muscles for the job.
2.Fuel and fluid: It seems obvious, but slowing the pace a little and fuelling at each aid station can bring a racer back from the brink. The brain runs on glycogen, so motivation requires a steady stream of quick sugar.
3. Count steps: Sometimes it’s all you can do just to put one foot in front of the other. Try just counting strides to 100 a few times and voilà—there goes another mile. Up for a challenge? Count backwards.
4.Think about why you are racing: Personal achievement, charity, family, friends, a bet, etc. Knowing that someone else is counting on you makes getting to the finish line all the more pressing.
5.“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.” Kind of corny but oh-so-true.

So if you can control your mind… you can control your race. But as one has to physically training for a race… mental training is worth giving a shot too…
Having a mantra… a positive motivational phrase to repeat to yourself daily….

For example :
Sports psychologists use the “If … then” model.
1) If I feel tired then I will focus on good technique. (e.g attentional control).
2) If I feel low in confidence then I will visualize myself performing at the top of my game.

The key to using psychological strategies if to REPEAT them.. (5 times a day!) as this reinforces their implementation, and conditions the response so that when it is needed it is automatic.

If you are based in the UK you may want to take a look at this website…. As I hear nothing but awesome stories about Kim!

and now for some more  Pics from Gerardmer!

Bye For Now….. Off to Kona in a few weeks… to soak up the atmosphere (whilst training of course!) and support my other half…. with the view… maybe… just maybe… of competing there next year :)

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The Twists and Turns of Life..

August 3rd, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

A break from the norm the last few weeks and lessons learnt along the way….

Starting with my the first trip away from Leysin…. Heading to Zurich. Must admit was straining at the bit a little in the days before departure… just to get a change of scenery. The Summer sees the arrival in Leysin of more summer camp students than you can possibley fathom. The village had become a spralling mass of teenagers and navigating your way through Co-Op had become increasingly maze-like.. … That’s before you consider the necessary swerving down the hill rep route to avoid the lollypop suckers. Basically until such time we have been relatively spoilt by the solitude of the environment… and now it is frothing with teenagers on tour. Have reprimanded oneself for upset caused by sudden busy-ness of the place by remembering the vast sums of Daddy’s cash which little Chad blows on Haribo in said Co-Op hence fuelling local economy and potentially a ? heated outdoor pool ☺ for next year

Sooooo… anyway.. Zurich. Had made an agreement with the boss that could go to see my man who would be racing IM Switzerland on the Sunday, earlier if I raced the shorter race on the Saturday… faired income I thought. … be nice to give the fast twitch fibres an outing;)
So my ‘little’ race turned out to be rather bigger than expected when hundreds of competitors turned up for the non-wetsuit swim start. Took me a while to get my head around the non-wetsuit thing, given that it was pouring down with rain… hmmm. …
It was a bit of fun the race, but I was surprised to see some of the girls speeding off on the swim, me thinking… nope not gonna happen. Thankfully I can put a out a few watts on the bike so after 20K I was in the lead and on to the run for a solid 1st place finish nearly a minute ahead of the next girl and breaking the 1 hour mark which was a secret aim. It was nice too that when I arrived back in Leysin the owner of my favorite bar ‘Lynx’ greeted me with ‘I saw you on TV in Zurich!…. running fast.’ hihihihi

So the Sunday was the IM Suisse and I had my supporters cap on. After a sleepless night (thanks to Decs pre-race muscle spasms which literally rock the bed) and a wake-up call at 3.45am I was in a great mood for a 12 day hour day…. N o t. In such situations I seek out coffee like a pig hunting truffles.. aaaah that’s better.
I have never been to an IronMan event before so standing on the side lines I was baffled my the sheer numbers of competitors. How are the all going to fit I thought??… on the course that is… but of course 180K is lot of road!
Swim start

Now how do you swim with this lot?!

Now how do you swim with this lot?!

A nerve wracking day for me as I saw Dec come out the swim a lot later than I expected. (the swim was 3-4mins long Doc tells me) Turning on my data-roaming meant I could keep an eye on athlete tracking and was able to see progress through the day. I had in my head… 13 AG slots for Kona and Dec had come of the bike in 24th… work still to do.
With me shouting pace times and AG placing at him, he worked his way through the field to finish 9th in his Age-Group and of course got the Kona Slot. Happy Days although the 2 hours I spent in the medical tent with him weren’t exactly pretty and opened my eyes to the level some will push to obtain a goal.
Happy Endings

Next up… road trip over to Alpe Duez… Never been up the climb before so the first glimpse I got as we approached the village at Midnight… blimey I thought… are you sure we have to climb this at the END of 105K? It makes the ‘hill’ up to Leysin look like a gentle slope!
Stunning place Alpe Duez. Surrounded by mountains, but being higher at altitude they feel a lot closer than in Leysin.

The Climb

The Climb

Race day itself… was a loooong day… starting at 7.30am with a ride down the mountain to the lake… arrived freezing having underestimated the wind chill factor… doh!
(pics to come!)

Wont go into the race in detail as Brett’s covered it well in his report. But for me… it was a very testing day and I what my mother would term ‘character forming’. The swim was really rather chilly and seemed to go on for ages… but in retrospect it did go on in comparison to Olympic distance racing to which I am used… couldn’t feel my feet coming out of the water so was a wobbly run into T1! I’m always relieved to get out of the water in a race and get on to my favorite part the bike, where I can usually make up time. I kept saying to myself… hold back hold back…. It’s a looooong day out there.
Then… coming up the hill out of T1… I was fiddling with my shoes and going pretty blimin slowly when a motorbike pulls up and holds a card at me and says I’m drafting… well actually they didn’t say that, because they muttered the French equivalent, but I got the drift. My protests that I wasn’t even near the guy in front and that we were going so slowly up the hill at that point ant drafting would have been utterly fruitless… were met with deaf ears and the marshal sped off to claim his next victim. Now, perhaps my protests ,which were sans expletives but were non the less uttered in anger/disbelief had irritated said marshal as 15 minutes later minding my own business on a flat section of road a group of French riders passed me and spread out across the road… the road then narrowed and with cars coming the other way it was impossible to pass… so I sat up to slow down until I could pass again. That’s when Mr Marshal smacks me in the face with another drafting penalty. U t t e r disbelief. I’ve never had a drafting penalty in my life… and two within 15 minutes….. come on!

Bad decision?

Bad decision?

Onwards and upwards. The bike leg of this race was nothing short of spectacular. The first Col tested the legs and I held back all the time thinking of that beast which I’d have to climb at the end. Crowd support in the villages we passed and on the climbs was awesome and really helped take the mind off the leg groans.
Ascending Alpe Duez I’d moved into second place and felt strong coming up the climb… It was very special for me climbing Alpe that day as I remembered by Dad climbing it back in his Pro cycling days in the tour. My step mum passed away this week after a year long battle with pancreatic cancer so I climbed that pass thinking of all the good times we had and hoped that I’d make them proud.

Coming into T2 I was thinking, ok, so I’m tired, but not thaaaat tired… run should be ok… Then smack No.3.
Penalty Box – 10 minutes! Standing – no food/no drink. I couldn’t quite believe it and as a result wasted far too much energy being angry and frustrated to ultimately no end… deaf ears… ‘making an example ’ the Marshal said. Thanks.

10 minutes over and I speed out of T2 only to find a minute later that my legs felt like lead… ok, I thought…. I’ll run into to it ‘find my rhythm’ as coach said. But it never came… and the getting through the 3 laps was amongst one of the hardest physical efforts ever… I have had a bruised bone in my toe for a while and the pain waxes and wanes but today with the terrain and gradients I was in agony after 20minutes. But I’ve never been a quitter, and no matter how much my body/mind wanted to stop, I pushed through and crossed the line pretty exhausted.

The Team had a successful day all round and I was sooo happy for Scottie podiuming and posting such a storming run split. James was solid start to finish and achieved a thoroughly deserved win. Jodie was simply outstanding and along with Chrissie to me represent the bench mark for the sport.
Next up… back to the homeland… after a testing 11 hour drive!
London Triathlon on 8Th August… this was where it all started for me as my first ‘proper triathlon’ back in 2007 so looking forward to it.

Train smart guys.


I Couldnt do what I’m doing without the help of my sponsors so a special thank you to:
Baxendale Walker LLP.
The Priory Group.
The Bike Boutique.

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Life Through a Lens in Leysin

July 18th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

Hey folks… managed to coax my poorly Canon camera back to life and thus have taken full advantage of its new lease of life (anyone who knows what Error 99 means… pls get in touch!)…
to snap a few shots of the athletes and scenery around camp.

The chicken/turkey plastic hybrid is alluded to in James Cunnama’s blog… my turn this week to be awarded the ‘booby prize’ albeit for altogether different reasons – aka – being a bit of a flighty twit.

Beck Preston, Me, Donna, Xena, Lisbeth

Beck Preston, Me, Donna, Xena, Lisbeth

Final 'Instructions' from the Boss
Tough choice :)

Tough choice :)

[caption id="attachment_94" align="aligncenter" width="433" caption="S I G H"]S I G H[/caption]The PoolListening intently to Doc's morning 'speech'
(papa we love you)... someone's got to ... hihihihi

(papa we love you)... someone's got to ... hihihihi

[caption id="attachment_98" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="concentrating hard on the days' training.... either that or thinking about breakfast ;) "]Concentrating hard on the task ahead....either that or thinking about breakfast ;)[/caption]Making it look easy...
Stephen gives us a poolside giggle

Stephen gives us a poolside giggle

[caption id="attachment_101" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Amazonian Goddesses emerge"]Amazonian Goddesses Emerge[/caption]
Xena - Be afraid ... be very afraid  ;-)

Xena - Be afraid ... be very afraid ;-)

The 'Booby' Prize

The 'Booby' Prize

[caption id="attachment_106" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="bad chicken... (projection in psychological terms - its the chickens fault i'm so blonde at times)"]bad chicken... (projection in psychological terms)[/caption]
Beer = The perfect recovery fuel.... in MODERATION ;-p

Scottie can put em away! Beer = The perfect recovery fuel.... in MODERATION ;-p

[caption id="attachment_109" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Ostrich Arm Span. Hanging out in Vevey"]Ostrich Arm Span. Hanging out in Vevey[/caption]
... Feeling the heat after a track sess ...and its not over yet!

...feeling the heat after a track sess.... and its not over yet!

More to come…. in the mean time follow me on Twitter…. http://twitter.com/SportieDoc
Train Hard, Train Smart

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Racing Time – IM 70.3 UK

June 24th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

Wimbleball Lake

This weekend saw me travel back to my homeland to take part in a double whammy of a race:


My first time racing a Half IronMan and my first time racing as a ‘Pro’.

Exmoor is a truly beautiful part of the world seemingly cut off from the rest of the world… you dip off the main road at Tiverton and then womble you way through endless twisty country roads, before finally seeing a sign for Wimbleball Lake.

Every year the IronMan fraternity descends on Exmoor for the Iron Man 70.3 UK.
This year the weather gods were on our side which meant the usual slip sliding around muddy fields and shouts of ‘damn I wish I had 4 wheel drive’ were thankfully absent.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how friendly and accommodating the volunteers were. Organisationally speaking things appeared to be spick and span.

On the Friday, I had my instructions from coach to ride 1 lap of the course, so after a bit of mingling and checking out the usual piles of tri-wear at the expo…off I went. 20 minutes into my navigation of the course (I am u s e l e s s with maps) but managed somehow to be on track… I heard the familiar phrooooom sound of an aero disc approaching… and some dude clad in red Specialized everything whizzed passed me, rather amicably sticking his tongue out as he did so. Nice I thought, this was meant to be a steady ride… but said red-kit clad person, turned around and the necessity for map-navigating skills was thankfully no more. So with my companion Phil Graves I rode the rest of the course uneventfully, although a damn bit faster than I would otherwise liked. Hoping I would have ‘had’ him up the hills, (given that I weigh about 18kg less!).. but alas no.

Race Morning: After a night spent sharing a single bed with my beau – forced on us by the fact that e v e r y B&B within a 20mile radius had apparently been booked since last November! – I was actually glad to get up at 4.45am!

Breakfast of some stodgier -than –I- would- like porridge with banana and honey and we were on our way to the race venue.
I have to say the whole IronMan transition bag thing served to cause me some confusion, having never raced in such a format before. I convinced myself that I’d managed to rack my swim bag where my run bag should be … hmmmm

At this time of the day it was 2 degrees Celsius… blimin cold. Walking down to the lake I wished I had kept my shoes and socks on like Bella and Steve …
Then the lake… Now I haven’t actually swam in open water since September last year. Coach doesn’t like the idea of trying to do so the day before the race (in case of nasties in the water)… so getting in was a shock to the bod.
Brrrrrr… quick ‘warm-up’ –a lthough I didn’t seem to warm at all… and I was at the starting line with the canoes surrounded by age-group competitors thinking where are the rest of the pro’s. I look around and they are standing on the pontoon ‘warming up’. Sooooo much to learn (recurring thought of the day..)
By the time the start gun went off – (so much for holding the Age groupers back!) I could barely feel my hands and feet.
The whole swim for me was a bit of a non-event. I couldn’t get a rhythm…. Arms felt like jelly and didn’t seem to be ‘pressing and pushing’ the water at all. In fact I felt that if I might as well be swimming doggy-paddle. Hey ho… approaching swim exit I was surprised at how quickly it had gone and a bit guilty that I felt like I hadn’t used any energy! Up the ramp to T2 and I hear roars from my beau of – ‘you’re not THAT far behind… with the not-so-subtle undertones of – ‘what the heck happened in there??…’

Was glad to get out on the bike… although new shoes and trying to mount on an uphill slope was fraught with a few difficulties… (that learning curve again)..
I seemed to catch up with the other girls, Bella, Lucie Zelenkova, Yvette and Emma within a relatively short space of time, and from then on the race was on.
I stayed ahead for most of the bike… I must say that riding with a motorbike by your side and a big camera in your face, is slightly distracting…. But I kept thinking how proud my Nan would be to see me on TV… and that kept me on track ☺
From about 15 miles in, I could feel my gears slipping. One of those other things that I learnt is that riding with an old chain on a new cassette with a worn outer chain ring (from all that BIG GEAR riding that coach makes us do) is not a good idea. Twice my chain came off, the first time I managed to click it back into place changing gears, but on the second time, going up a steep hill when the chain came off I was screwed. So for some reason, I decided to turn around and ride back DOWN the hill in order to try click the chain back on. No success and the blimin thing twisted too… nothing for it but to get off. At this point I was in the lead, apparently 1km up from Emma-Kate Lidbury, the TV cameras managed to catch the action of me swearing at my bike whilst I got my hands dirty untwisting the chain.
Back on .. and back up the hill. I still thought at this point I was in the lead as didn’t see Emma slip past. But coming into T2 I found that she was a minute and a half ahead. Bella not far behind me.

Running out of T2 … I didn’t feel too bad considering… but was soon reminded that I had never run more than 10k off a bike before, let alone a 56mile supa-hilly bike…. Shouts of –‘steady, it’s a long day out there’ reminded me what I was in for, during the 900m of climbing that ensued. Lap 1 I was running with Bella with Emma-Kate a 1.30 ahead. The first hill came and I knew I had to pull a toilet stop… having never voluntarily peed in my pants before, I took the mantra that ‘one should never try something for the first time on race day’ and stopped briefly. Lap 2 I suffered (see link to photo page for evidence!)…. In retrospect the fact that I had been unable to stomach anything more than 2 gels and 550mls of fluid the whole race… meant that the tank was running seriously low. Trying a few sips of coke (yes I should have slowed down a bit to give myself a chance to swallow it) was the best it got. On the last lap… I could see that Bella was steadily running stronger and pulling away, but I also saw that Emma-Kate was slowing and encouraged by the crowd I started to believe that I may stand a chance of catching her. The last 5 K I felt strong… another gear came from somewhere and despite the screams of my leg muscles… I ran past Emma and continued strong up until the finish.
The finish line was the best moment of the day… the crowds were awesome and seeing my family and boyfriends proud faces was enough to see the pain slip away.

Next was my first experience of dope testing and the hours it seemed to take to try and pee again! It turns out we had a looong afternoon ahead to wait for prize giving anyway so in retrospect I didn’t mind being followed around for an hour until my bladder finally gave out.

All in all a top day… and a lot of lessons learnt. It was a tough day and truly inspirational to race with someone as strong as Bella and also to see the exhilaration of thousands of other competitors finishing throughout the day.
So what’s next people ask me? A bit of time with my family and then back to the Leysin camp at the end of the week…. From then on, only the boss knows.. watch this space ;)

p.s – will upload pics when they come through.
But check out this website for some various shots showing painful facial contortions!


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The Hills are Alive

May 30th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

YouTube Preview ImageJulie Andrews Sings the Sound of Music

Julie Andrews Sings the Sound of Music

So Safely arrived in Leysin and have spent the last few weeks settling in as it were…

It takes a bit of getting used to being up in the clouds… but the air is so awesomely fresh that you cant help but feel invigorated…
That is until you get into the pool and wham… the effects of swimming at altitude hit…

Now usually with swimming I dont find myself struggling for breathe… coach would argue its because I am a lazy baffoon in the water… and i only cant breathe because I’m not fit.. (i plead my collar bone drama and 7 weeks out of the pool)… but no the truth is it is harder to swim up here… but of course coach is right… in order to get faster in the pool you gotta feel the pain.
But fish make it look so easy!

Leysin really is a wonderful place to train.. as Beck wrote… distractions really are few and far between.
Although some may struggle with boredom, I am yet to find that a problem. The days seem full enough… and when not training there’s always time for eating, spa-ing… Grays Anatomy, and trashy magazines… i can feel my cerebrum shrinking already!

Minor hiccup number one since landing in Leysin… me not paying attention (must do better!) goes and slides into train tracks on bike and slip off the other side… simultaneously wacking my rear derailer and thigh. Bit bruised, but nothing to worry about, clean myself off put the chain back on and prepare to climb the famous Aigle-Leysin climb. (Now at this time as it was my first time climbing the hill/mountain – I was slightly excited, having heard so much about the dreaded climb.. 3 weeks later.. its no longer a novelty!)

20mins into the climb and i’m shift down to my bottom gear (a gear that hasnt been used since I bought the bike!) and i hear a massive clunk and the bike stops abruptly… i look around to find my derailer wrapped in my chain.. completely tangled.
Now I was stuck in the middle of a mountain with a bike that didnt work.

Luckily help was soon at hand my a friendly passer by whom happened to be the neighbour of team mate Lisbeth…. so soon I was crouched in the boot of a the car surrounded by half a garden centre’s worth of plants.. it made me smile..

Given that the priority was to fix my bike – I visited Aigle the next day… and to the trusted store DOM.
They assured me that they could order in a mech hanger from Cervelo… and I tentatively asked whether I could borrow a bike in the mean time… the mechanic looked me up and down and nodded..
and this is what I got…Hunk of Steel...

Now i know we’re spoilt and everything riding the glorious machines that are Cervelo… but boy this bike was hilarious… I swear it weighed nearly as much as a small car…. One ride up the infamous mountain and I was desperate to get back on my flighty Soloist which thanks to the smooth running of the Dom team I did 28 hours later… phew (costly) drama over..

Just something else I wanted to share with you… being out here in the mountains when the sun is out somehow evokes a childhood nostalgia …

I am reminded of Saturday afternoons watching Julie Andrews sing her heart out in Sound of Music… full of joy – but also of strength of character, determination and patriotism in the light of the films expose of the widespread effects of Nazism.

I am left pondering this movie and just how close to the techni-coloured images i recall from my youth the scenes are in reality. Scenery that literally takes your breath away…

Actual Photo taking during the ‘Loop’ ride.



On one ride I attempted to share my childhood passion for said Julie Andrews movie with one of my (Swiss) training partners… and he couldnt recall it at all… sooo disappointed. Determined that this was simply an oversight on his point.. perhaps lost in translation – I decided to launch into one of the signature sounds from the movie.. (clears throat..) – see YouTube link at top for Proper smiles!

Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow Sew
Tea, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)

Met with Blank Expression… ah well.. I suppose boys are a bit different from girls.. ;)

My favorite song from the musical.. aptly entitled :)  - My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

SIGH…  :)
href=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K13Sj1SieDs&feature=related’ >Sound of Music

On another note… those who train with me know that i’m struggle a little with the whole b e i n g on t i m e thing – no excuse really but i know its something I have to work on… anyway it means that on a few occasions i’ve had to ride on me lonesome… which normally at home I find a tad boring. Here, noo way.. I get to meet such crazy looking animals as this!

Frank the LLama after a visit to the barber ;)

This chap was wondering around the field amongst goats, pigs and cows… what a collaboration!

Oh and before I go must share this gem with you… – My MacBook, all of two months old decided to die on me last week – and those here know – that if you have no computer – then you really are at risk from getting bored! Was kinda thrilled to find that there was a Mac Service centre tucked away in Aigle behind a Chateau… it has to be the most awesome little place… complete with the friendliest cat in the world named Ashton..  Now if you’re ever stuck you know where to go – Supa helpful chap :)

Possibley the most remote Apple service centre in the world.

and lastly…..

One thing that athletes like to/need to do is EAT….

Day 1 in Leysin – this is what a shop for 2 looked like… (and yup you would think it wld last a week… nope!)


Well thats enough for my ramblings for now..  Off to hit the sauna to heat some heat into my aching muscles…

Staying put in Leysin for a few more weeks before heading back to the UK to my first race of the year the 70.3 at Wimbleball. I was bought up in this are of South West England, so more reminscing to be had!

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Healing Bones and Atrophic Deltoids

April 21st, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis
Thank goodness for my Helix :)

Thank goodness for my Helix :)

Well since I last wrote things have moved on apace… you may remember that since all went ‘Pete Tong’ (as we say in the UK – or did in the 90′s) – as in not the way one had planned… on the operating table… I decided that I would let nature take its course and see if my collar bone would heal..

Well its week 8 now and I can say that all appears to be going well… I came over to Lanzarote on 5th April to train in the sun (London was seriously not getting any warmer – in fact it seemed to be be getting colder…uuurgh).
On my first day there I met a mutual friend of ours … a chap who works as a surgeon in London but who also caught the Tri bug some time back and now regularly tackles M-Dot courses (although how he manages to train at all being a top surgeon, a clinical director and bring up 3 kids beggars belief;)

I had just finished a 100m one arm paddled rep when we got chatting and he said have you tried to swim with that arm yet? I said – well no – just doggy paddle… and he had a bit of a a feel around my collar bone area and says – ‘luv – its solid – swim away…’ Soooo…

with the confidence behind me I gave it a go… and it worked… no pain… no discomfort – I could swim again! 6 weeks after I broke my collar bone and I could swim.. I was all smiles…

So I swam a bit more and all ok, and the next day no ache.. this is good news. Now being a doc, but a completely irrational one at that sometimes… I knew that the road to complete recovery is never totally smooth… so i’ll expect a few bumps. The cheif Doc’s words always echo in my mind… don’t rush..

So training out here has been ok.. wind as per usual batters you about a bit… and I’m constantly having to compete with my Irish man who seems to be getting stronger by the day…. (I have to stop to remind myself that he is racing IM Brasil in a few weeks…)

There have been a few difficulties over the past few weeks with another medical problem that sprung up, but all seems to be well and going good again now.

The swim is tough… because I feel like a weak lamb trying to move myself through the water… but the strength will come. Its tough being beaten by your other half… especially when 2 months ago I was steaming ahead… but hey ho… it gives me a little something to aim for :0

So the plan is – keep training steadily and consistently… I was hoping to do The Volcano Tri Olympic Distance out here on 3rd May – for a bit of a fun really – plus the prize pot is decent.. I came 4th last year and pocketed enough to cover my flights so not so bad… But the Boss says no… waaay too soon…

Lets aim for IM 70.3 UK – bring on those hills ;)

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Surgery in A Modern World – and other musings.

March 16th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

What an exciting weekend it has been for some of my fellow Team TBB mates!

Congrats to Amy for a superb result. Amy looks like a machine,
swims like i can only imagine… and is one helluva trooper.
Much respect girl for a great performance.
Wongstar – you are just nails… we can all learn from you.
Maki – I imagine Maki smashing her way through the
water.. creating a tidal wave in her wake but all the while with a devilish grin on her face…  you have to be seriously pleased with 4th – brilliant.
Congrats too to the boys!

Abu Dhabi I watched very closely…as I was meant
to be there… choosing not to dwell too much on the negativity..
I put my misfortune aside and watched as awesome athlete  and fellow Brit Julie Dibens produced another stellar performace.

Caroline, Bek and Teresa -
- my heart goes out to you all – supastars! It was hot out
there.! Special thoughts were with Bek who went out
there and did her job, despite the preceding
weeks of adversity… again inspiring stuff.

The race brought up a little suprise for me as I saw an
athlete – Carrie Lester come up fifth.
Carrie won her age-group at The World Champs
in Sept at the same time as I won mine (25-29v.
30-34) so I was stunned to see someone to whom I
was so competitively close.. do so well over the
longer distance event. definitely provided food
for thought.

So my update…

well… as per previous blog.. went to see top shoulder doc/surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital in London for
re- xraying and clinical opinion on my beleagured collar-bone.

We talked – at length… the pro’s and the cons
of surgery versus leaving it.
techincal speak is :
conservative v. interventional approach.
i.e to slice or not to slice…
to plate and pin or to sit and sling.


well… firstly. I’ve been through medical school.
I’ve seen many an operation and been held in awe
at the technical expertise with which some surgeons
deftly manoerve their way around our bodies’
web of nerves, blood vessels, sinew, muscle and adipose (fat). However, I have also had to run out of
operating theatres’ on a few occasions.. as I
feel a swell of nausea rise up ready to enduce
vomitus. Now the particular type of operations
to enduce such a pallid state are those of the orthopaedic variety. A vivid memory of the dilated pupils and crazed grin of an orthopaedic surgeon
as he drilled into some poor chaps’ femur (thigh bone)… blood spurting… smearing the surgeons’ glasses with droplet upon droplet of haematogenous material… and the smell.. human flesh and drills not a olfactory delight

so the gist is – orthopaedics in my mind is well…
a bit butch for me… A Bit hit and miss… all that drilling and hammering and nailing and filing…

soooo… If I was going to choose to have any
operation – any in the whole world – having an orthopod (as we other medics term them) involved is the last thing on my wish list…

ok – so if I ever had to choose between heart surgery and repair of a fractured clavicle… then I perhaps would reconsider … but you get my chain of thought.

of course (and Mum if you’re reading this.. sorry)_
I didnt tell any of the above to my dear mum so has now undergone two hips replacements – both ultimately very successful… but she did have them done privately and a fair amount of sedative was required to get her to the operating table…

ok, where was I… all that thinking about blood and gore distracted me…


oh yes – decisions – well… I go and fracture my
clavicle in an abnormal way… none of this bog standard collar bone breaking for little me…
nope….  I go and do myself a Tami special – better known in medical speak as a displaced and comminuted lateral third fracture… which, as the research.. and apparently clinical practice  show, are LESS likely to heal on their own… so conservative treatment – i/e to sling… is less effective and the chances of non-union (in surgeon speak) is much higher… as high as 60% of me being left with a non-union (i.e the two ends of the fracture not coming together…which could potentially affect shoulder function in the future… which is unlikely to bother most folk much – but if you are required to blast through 20-30k of swimming per week… not ideal…)


anyway.. the surgeon tells me to go away and think about it… at the end of the day he doesnt want to push me into an operation that I dont want to do… and all that blood and gore hammering and nailing stuff obviously doesnt come risk free…

loook… this is what it (the plate) may look like in-situ..  (if offended by blood, look away now….) the arrows pointing at the nerves that must be avoided – or else would end up with a numb nipple = bad result.


Option 1 – Surgery – Plate and Pin.
Pros’ – guaranteed (almost) union of the fracture site.

Risks of Surgery – potential vascular damage, nerve damage (see yellow arrows above), infection, scar… uncomfortable plate position.

Risk of anaesthesi
a – gulp – it scares me more than most things that we medics STILL dont know how anaesthetics work… which equals guess work in my head… which equals fear of the unknown…= out of control = more fear = avoidance. only only if forced
(ok maybe if someone offered me the chance of surgical implantation of Halle Berry’s breasts I may reconsider…perhaps..;)

Option 2:
Conservative/Sling Management.

Pro’s – NO BLOOD AND GORE SURGERY (see above)
Cons – Non-Union = Pain = submaximal shoulder function = pants swimming.

I will only know for sure if I choose option 2 – whether all has healed (as in united) at around 10-12 weeks.

So… (god I’m going on).. if i dont get the butchers to operate now… then i’m gonna have to sit tight till week 12 to see whether nature has done its job. If it has Wooppeeee! If it hasnt it means a potentially much more difficult operation and further training setback.

OK… so all the umming and aahing and crises aside.. the surgeon – Mr R said he really thought I should have the operation and my chances of getting back to swimming would be expediated under Option 1. So I cut my losses and give myself up to his expert opinion… and on Friday (12th March) I allowed myself to be prodded and labelled and prepped for the op.

op-fat(good gracious… I asked them to photograph my good side! – eejits)

Nerves were flying everywhere… by blood pressure was that of an 80 year old fat, diabetic smoker but non concordingly my heart rate was setting off alarms being so darn slow (yay a reminder that i’m an athlete!)

So picture this… i’m in the anaesthetic room, drip in hand sharing some friendly but nervous chat with the anaesthetist (with whom funnily enough I used to see at the student bar – I even remembered that he was a hockey player ;) … when Mr R bursts in profusely apologising… ‘Tamsin, Tamsin… so sorry to keep you waiting, there has been a bit of a … ummm… problem..’
me – ‘Oh?’

goes on to tell me that the plate they had ordered in to nail into my poor C-bone (had to be the best platinum variety if they were ever gonna come close to inserted a foreign body into me…) had had its sterile packaging tampered with.. as in it had a hole in -m non sterile = not useable.

And a backup plan – err… didnt exist.. 1 non sterile plate = no operation.

Sigh…. giggle…smile… was this fate?

So I get dressed again and then Mr R, still red-aced from all the chasing around trying to find another plate tells me he is sorry again and can fit me in on tues…

fine… Can I go and get a Burger King and pint of Stella now please? (just kidding – i rarely pollute my intestines with such rubbish… promise ;)

So since Friday, I have had time to think and have had my Xrays reviewed by other specialists- many of whom sit on the fence and say – ‘Tamsin, we just dont know which way this one is going to go… but chances are it COULD heal fine on its own…’

Long story through my obsessive ruminations over the weekend … which became remarkabley clearer when I embarked on my first run in three weeks…

The sun was shining it was – for the UK – warmer than it had been since last October – a balmy 11 degrees… and I decided that I felt comfortable enough to run. and I ran… and ran … and felt like I could go on and on. Ok so I wasnt running at a world-breaker pace… but all felt good… so 2hrs 5 minutes later… I though prob time to call it a day… just in case.

wonderful… Its at times like this when I remember how lucky I am to have caught the Tri-Bug and decided to get fit… running is a great clarifier.

Sunday night – wee bit of pain… bit like a grating really… but nothing crazy. monday morning – I trot into see Mr R again and say – Sir I reaaaaally dont want to have this operation – can we give Option 2 – (conservative Mx) a shot? another long talk about pro’s and cons – another two surgeons’ come into examine me… I even let a few nurses and medical students in to have a poke … the more the merrier..

He tells me – aaaagain… its down to me..

So thats it folks – my decision NOT to operate on my collar bone is based on my female intuition and instinct – bloody waste of time those 6 years at med school eh?

Onwards and Upwards…

so now – Rehab… I’ve done the Priory (in a professional capacity)- kicked the Diet Coke/Chewing Gum/Red Wine/Massage addiction… now for my bones….

amy-winehouse-rehab-ur-doin-it-rongLets get it right!

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Back in Blighty

March 8th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

My last 10 days in Thailand – had been a little more relaxed than the rest of my fellow Team TBB mates.  Enforced rest was upon me… and it was not for once welcomed.

I headed up to Phuket to a ‘fancy’ private hospital to get my C-bone reXRAYed and to seek advice from an ortho specialist there.  Well he spoke English, so that was a start… and I must admit was pretty impressed by the facilities at Bangkok Phuket hospital.  Meets international standards for private hospitalisation and I spied a fair few westerners wandering around with their drips … and began to guess which cut price operative procedures they’d jetted to the sunny side for. I spotted at least three boob jobs, two possible knee ops… and one lady who i think had pushed caution to the wind and gone for face/boob/tummy/knee/hip op… it wasnt pretty!

So getting the word from the surgeon that he didn’t think my need for an op to repair my beleagured collar bone was imminent – he tightened my figure of eight ‘brace’ – put me in a sling and sent me on my way.  The next four nights were spent in ’5 star Freddy’ accomodation.  I started off at The JW Marriot Resort and Spa in Phuket. … but decided after a few hours there… that it really wasnt my cup of tea…. beautiful – yes…. but far too generic – like you could be anywhere in the world in a similar place – no real authenicity.  Then it came to the steak dinner with some rather stunning Sauvignon Blanc – absolutely delicious (and not a chilli in sight!)… but then the bill came and I realised that spending $50 on dinner a night was definitely not feasible – given my now status as an (otherwise unemployed) professional athlete.

So i kicked up a wee bit of a fuss and asked for my money back – and moved – to a place up the coast where I had stayed some 5 years ago.  Secluded and serene, feet away from the Andaman Sea.  just the place for some down time.  Now those of you who think enforced rest means no exercise – well not really.  Brett had given me the ok to get on the bike in the gym – so I was there 48 hours after the accident… sitting up on the bike pushing some high gears.. trying to keep some strength in my wee legs.

I’m no good at being on the other side of the fence – i.e a patient, and often am pretty pants at taking my own advice to take it easy. But its all in perspective… i didnt do anything stupid – but lying around waiting for my bone to heal – isnt my style.  There is a fair bit of evidence to suggest that bone healing post fracture is enhanced by a diet rich in vitamin C and Calcium and Vit D.  Well I have eaten by body weight in fruit almost daily since my time in Thailand so my ascorbic acid levels were constantly topped up…. and of course the effects of sunlight on the skin increases Vitamin D levels… so that just leaves the Calcium… so added a bit of extra dairy to my daily intake… every little bit helps ;)   So we’ll see.

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks post accident and its time for another XRay and a consultation with a renowned Shoulder and sSports medicine specialist.  He will give me the final say on whether he thinks an operation is necessary.  I have in pretty firmly in my head that an op is not the way forward but I have to think about my return to function – and long term its gonna be swimming which will be the hardest to get back to… so i want my c-bone in tip top shape!

The last few days I came back from Phuket to Krabi… saying goodbye en route to Brett at the airport ….   my heart sank a little driving up to our team base… and little sadness that I couldn’t join the others in their sessions.  Took me 10 minutes of feeling sorry for myself before I thought of a new challenge which could keep me occupied and the muscle fibres active… the climb up to the Temple on top of the mountain.  1226 steps. Easy I thought… and then I started to climb and noticed some people coming back down…. they looked shattered. One said to me – she couldnt do – too steep and she was scared of heights… hmm one wonders why she started… but hey at least she tried..

Then I realised – whoah – these steps are steeep.. almost vertical … and I smiled. like a challenge me .. so I started my stopwatch… and 15 minutes and a l o t of sweat and heavy breathing .. later I was at the top.  What a view!   My camera didnt really do it justuce… but could see for miles -a total 360 degree panorama… The Big Buddha was kinda cool too…   my mind quickly snapped back to the climb… and I was off down again, only to come back up for the second time … and then the third.   The other toursists struggling up the steps thought I was mad but hey… we all are us triathletes ;)

I must admit – the next day I could barely walk down the stairs!

The girls had brought me back a turbo from Singers… a fair bit of encrusted rust – but hey it worked so game on.

Sad to leave Thailand and the peeps… especially as was just getting to know James and Scottie.. Donna was sad to see me leave at first but quickly got over this when I bestowed on her all my products I couldnt carry back home… and my ‘home comforts’ like rugs and pillows that i’d bought to make the room a bit more comfy..  she felt like she’d been to a jumble sale!

So now i’m back in the cold but suprisingly bright London.. 0 degrees is no fun – but if the sun’s out all becomes a bit more bearable.  another turbo session and lots of sleep and i’m feeling a bit more alive…  lets see what the specialist says tomorrow ..but he may have a bit of a fight on his side if he wants to get his knife into me ;)

The Steps upKrabi SunsetThe Top of The MountainDe Big BuddhaThe ViewThe Monkeys

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Fun and Games – Welcome to your new Life!

February 26th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

The atheletes and the invalidCrunch


Ok peeps, its time for my first proper bit of blogging… now I have a bit more time on my hands.

I’ve been in Thailand just over 2 weeks now. The first 10 days my boyfriend – a wonderful Irish tough as they come IronMan ;o - accompanied me – to ‘settle me in’ and prevent me freaking out when I came across the realms of super fit, super strong Iron athletes. Well that was the idea.

Arriving in Krabi, I did have a slight sinking feeling – when all your insecurities come to the fore resulting in a ‘ I don’t think I’m good enough for this’ shadow appearing. Thankfully, this self-doubt was transient. Meeting Brett and walking around our local superstore buying the necessary fuel aids for the week ahead – I felt at ease… apprehensive, but excited. There is no room for self doubt when you are around Brett.

Week one – settling in – getting over the jet lag, getting use to the heat – OH THE HEAT – coming from minus 2 in Britain to this took a bit of getting used to – but would I go back – would aye heck! Coming off the back of Olympic distance training upping the volume, was the first key step with my training and in the couple of weeks prior to Thailand – I’d been building a bit more of a base and feeling stronger.

The first few swims took a bit of adjusting to… at home I’m a lazy swimmer most of the time – seeing swimming as a time to stretch out and recover from the bike/run. (well kinda). I can put in the K’s – but as I swim on my own, or with slower swimmers, I rarely put in the pace. … Big Mistake.

The runs were all about the heat… the water over the head at 30min mark proved essential and the amount of clothing I wore while running seemed to decrease each time.

The bike – well I love riding my bike. I don’t particularly like riding a TT bike as much – just because you don’t get the feel and cant handle as well – but this is the Team TBB way – and I’m not gonna argue with the best. Race on TT – Train on TT – simple.

All well – few (ok more than few) tears when my boy left – but knew it was time to knuckle down and put in the work. Which I was doing – and feeling strong (albeit tired) until…

Boom! Crash. Swerved to avoid other cyclist and one of the million mopeds that appear out of no-where (alluded to frequently in other team TBB member blogs) – braked – front wheel locked – s l o w… m o (I can picture every detail still)- Bang. Over the handlebars – bounce of front of head – outstretched arm to buffer fall – crash…. Crunch…snap.

One broken collar bone.

P A I N – nausea – shock….

Donna was with me – and was tops – this woman deserves a medal.

Passing cars stopped. I was slowly put in one – I knew from the moment I hit the ground – that I’d broken by C-bone. Call it doctor’s intuition.

Now I know – and those who know me – love me and hate me in equal measures for it – that I can be a m a d a m at times. This was one. All I could think off was that – I’ve broken something – it could potentially impinge on a blood vessel – how bad was the bump to the head – am I thinking straight? (I’ve had a serious head injury in the past so well aware of the warning signs). … and from that point on all I could think of – was .. get me to hospital (knowing that it was a fair way.)

The Thai’s love to talk… and procrastinate… and talk… one decision – get me plus bike plus Donna in car and drive.

At this point I did go into shock…. My vision was blurred and I started shaking. I knew that sugar was what I needed. The crash happened towards the end of 2.5-hour ride so I was dehydrated and low on glucose. I managed to communicate to the driver that COKE was needed… and no joke – pain aside – 4 gulps of Coke later I had my fight back.

We stopped at the hotel on way to the hospital to pick up Brett (god he’s calm in a crisis – thank you!) and so the Thai drivers could procrastinate a bit more about who was going to drive me to the hospital and in what car. Bit delirious at this time so losing will to put on m a d am hat.

So Krabi hospital. Good – well interesting. No English spoken – but they managed to work out what was wrong with me from my hollering! Pain relief would have been good … but it was a long time coming. X-ray of my shoulder – ok… so the XRAY dept. was like 10 minutes from the emergency dept – this IS the 2nd world – thank god it was only a collar bone! Was pulled and squashed around on the XRAY bed. Now at this point I was in a lot of pain – and when the moved me – it felt like my shoulder was being sorn off with an axe. Brett at this time was the best – my whaling and tears would have sent most men running- but he stayed they to see it through – if only to stop me upsetting the locals with my noise ;) .

The pethidine – an opiate – quick acting, short acting – awwwwesome drug for pain. My perceptive of everything changed within that first minute of getting that drug. I was giggling and disinhibited…. And forget for a moment that I had sustained an injury which would have me off swimming for 6 weeks min.

3 hours later we left the hospital – me a little opiate-intoxicated and Brett fatigued. May (our hotel receptionist/house-keeper/taxi- driver/mother hen) was wonderful and is another to whom I shall award a medal.

So then the reality hits – my second week training as a Pro – and boom – I’m out… These things are sent to test us…. And believe me I’ll come back fighting.

Enough for now… I’ve taken a few days away from camp to recoup in Phuket and plan my rehab… so I’ll be back to you soon with an update. In the mean time – a bit about my background below. Happy reading….


Start off with a little bit about me just to give you an idea about how I ended up being in Team TBB and pursuing my triathlon dreams…

I grew up a sporty child – give me a sport and I was there…. running, swimming, horse riding, cycling, water polo, target shooting… chess (ok not chess ;) … you couldn’t hold me back. This was all until difficulties at home and illness took hold and I was out of the game for a good few years. By this time my priorities had changed and I had become very academically focused. Gaining top grades at school and inspired by a fascination for the human body and mind I gained a place to study medicine at Kings College London.

I dabbled a bit with sport at Uni… but as was the case when I was younger I was always told I was a talent… but a talent left to waste as other things got in the way and my focus skewed towards academic prowess. I ran for the Uni team – but never put in much in the way of training… just busted a lung on race day!

The in 2003 I suffered a severe head injury sustained during a skiing accident (black mogul run, black ice, poor visibility) and was in Intensive Care Unit for 10 days. I came through but it took a long time to find my feet.

It wasn’t until 2007 that I finally got myself to a start line at a triathlon. I had entered The London Triathlon three times previously and each time chickened out because I’d let other things get in the way of training. So Blenheim Triathlon in June 07 – you couldn’t have asked for a better day – the sun beaming down on the glorious Oxfordshire countryside. I was swimming at this time only 1-2 times a week and had never swam with a wetsuit in open water before. I was wrecked with nerves but super excited. Blenheim is a sligthtly long sprint distance, with what I now know they term a ‘techinical bike course’… ok so there is a few hills and a few twisty bits… but technical? Tee hee..

Anyways, I won my age – group in this race. I had no idea what this meant and didn’t find out until I saw it published a month later in 220 Magazine. But I was already hooked. So it was painful, but hey SO much to improve on! That’s where Tri gets you… as soon as the race finishes, your thinking – so I could have done a/b/c/d… quicker/more efficiently/smoother… and you’re planning your next race.

Later than summer in my second Olympic distance race.. I qualified for The World Age Group Triathlon Champs and was stoked.. at that time I was only training about 6 hours a week so was pretty taken aback that I would be soon competing with the best age-groupers in the world. Vancouver ITU World Champs were a bit of a disappointment. Weather was horrendous and we were one of the last waves that was allowed to swim in the 12 degree waters. The boys were prevented from swimming and their race to much disappointment became a Duathlon.

So came out of the swim way back after having to swim sans goggles for 15 minutes after I saw them disappear under a big wave. Stormed my way through the bike recording the joint fastest bike split of the day… and then slipped over in T2 in the mud! Hey ho,! Ran cold finishing 11th in my age group.. disappointed buy happy to finish and get warm! I remember saying to family and friends then – that’s its for triathlon – I’m taking up cycling.

Well I didn’t… and a despite a run injury meaning I had 4 months sans running over the winter, my 2009 season went well and I started to believe in myself. In July, I met Michelle Dillon at Windsor Tri and asked her to coach me. Less than 2 months later we were at The World Champs again on The Gold Coast.

I had some good, consistent training under my belt and at the start line I was confident that I was on track to have a good race.

I led the race from start to finish…. This was a good day to win Gold.

Since The Worlds, I had a few decisions to make. I knew that if I wanted to take triathlon further I had to make changes in my life. The main one being taking some time out of work. This was a tough one as being a doctor with a meticulously planned out career path – I had to make sacrifices and talk to the right people to make sure taking time out wouldn’t affect my future career as a psychiatrist. In December 09 I sat and passed my final specialist exams. With the extra letters after my name giving me the assurance I needed… I took the leap.

So Team TBB…. I was put in touch with Brett in November and we got talking… I had thought about ‘going long’ before but didnt imagine it would happen for a few years. Brett put paid to that notice quite quickly – hitting me with the reality that my swim would never be on par with those at the top of the ITU rankings. Being the daughter of a father who was a World Class cyclist, I’m quite strong on the bike.. the ITU drafting format would never let me make the most of this.

It wasn’t until late in January that I got the final ok from the powers that to take time out of work and at the same time was lucky to be given financial sponsorship from Baxendale Walker LLP and The Priory Group. I booked my flights to Thailand the same day.

The aim of the first Team TBB camp for me was to meet Brett in person… let him see the way I swim, bike and run and most importantly, whether he thought could work with me. This is key ;) .

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Helllooo Helloooo

February 4th, 2010 by Tamsin Lewis

Hi peeps,

This is all very new and exciting.  Headed to Thailand next week to join the camp…. i’m straight outta full-time work as a Doctor so looking forward to training and n o t working for a bit!  Sure the sun will help  ;)

Update you soon


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