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 .