Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Commute

I live right in Edinburgh and veterinary school is about 6.5 miles outside of the city center. This means we have a commute! Some students live out in the countryside closer to school but I wanted to live right in town for the first few years at least since I have never really lived in a big city. When I got here I wanted to commit to commuting to school as much as possible. The weather has been insanely nice since I got here so it really hasn't been so bad. After riding my Scott tri bike out there one day though I knew i needed to get a commuter bike with slightly beefier tires and a rack for my backpack.

I really like the idea of commuting to school as well because it makes good use of the time: getting a work out in and getting to school all at once!

A few times I have been able to run to school in the morning, which I actually prefer to biking because it is almost uphill THE WHOLE WAY. Biking uphill super slowly while cars and buses are whizzing past isn't that much fun...Below is the route from when I ran one morning. 

Untitled by ahs486 at Garmin Connect - Details

The only issue with running is I have to pack my clothes up the day before and bring them out to school so I have something clean to wear the next day. The school is very conducive to commuting as there are lockers and showers in all of the school buildings. 

So I got onto the craig's list equivalent over here, GumTree, and bought myself a cheap commuter bike (pictures to follow) from a girl moving to Chile. It is a Trek and nice and sturdy. I was pumped to ride it to school the next day. The tires were a little flat but I hadn't gotten my pump in the mail yet so I decided I would be fine. Well, about .5 miles in my bike gets all wonky. Flat rear tire.....with 6 mils to go to school, basically uphill. I had none of my gear to change it with me. I was so tempted to just lock it up and grab a bus but was too stubborn to and didn't want to stand around waiting and be late to class. So about 45 minutes later I got to school with 5 minutes to spare before class started...I felt like the biggest nerd, like going so slow with my helmet, sweating like a hog and through like my backpack and shirt and just awful. I had to sit through 2 classes like that till I got to take a shower during our break...needless to say I sat in the back away from my classmates because I don't want to turn into "that girl".

To make it worse, after getting the wheel back to town and fixed up, I went to ride my bike from school on Monday and again like 1 mile in ppssssttttttttttt....flat rear tire....ridic. No bikes on buses so I locked that sucker up and dejectedly brought my wheel back to my dorm sans bike AGAIN. I don't think I make a very good my bike is currently locked up outside of ASDA (a Target equivalent over here) about 6 miles from my dorm.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Thought I might put down a few more notes about life here. It is pretty fun! Since school started on August 6th we have been very busy. Classes are from 9 am till 5 most days. We do have 2 separate, hour long breaks throughout the day which really helps to break things up and aid in coffee fuel-ing. There are cafes like everywhere which I love. I still love studying in these spots so a lot of my evenings are spent sitting in a corner with my drink, reading about bones and muscles. We have our first exams on September 17th but last day of classes on the 7th so it will be a break full of studying in-between. I am trying to keep up as we go though since there is such a huge amount of information given. Enough about school cause that's boring.

The city itself is pretty great because it is fairly big but easily walk-able (when it is not raining). The buses run all over the place but I am still not used to which number goes where and all that. I am hoping that will come with time :) Another great thing is that Arthur's Seat, an old volcanic rock, is literally in town. It just beautiful to look at but also wonderful to hike/run on. There are trails and paths all over it and people are constantly there getting active. I ran up it one day from my dorm and it took me 25 minutes from my room to the top and it involved some very heavy huffing and puffing towards the end! It is a wonderful outlet though and perfect place to get away from the city without even leaving it. Plus a look out from the side/top promises a vast landscape and ocean vistas!

Training has been interesting.....I am so so pleased that my coach has chosen to continue coaching me, officially making me the most high maintenance athlete ever. I never cease to bother him! I go through waves of wanting to train and get my sessions in to having this like huge urge to not do a work out or skip something. 98% of the time that feeling leaves once I start working out. I have been biking a bit outside of the city but it can be like Lexington in that you have to ride a ways to get to the good riding. Of course there are better areas closer but I have not found them yet. The tri club here seems to be pretty prominent and the University also has tri, biking and swimming clubs but they will not start until the University starts again in September so I am sort of on my own right now to figure everything out. A lot of the problem of training is this like extreme guilt I get that I should be studying instead. I had a meeting with 2 of my professors today though and they were very encouraging of my habit and really emphasized the need to have something outside of veterinary school to focus on or my brain will fail me.

I was planning on coming back for the Toyota Cup in Dallas but after looking at flight times and class times it is not looking promising. I also looked up races over here and was shocked at how many there were over here in October still!!! So now I have decided to race the Garmin Barcelona triathlon October 7th. I shouldn't have to miss any school and it is a huge race. We swim in the Baltic and ride around town so it should be a cool event. I think they had 6,000 participants last year within the sprint and Olympic distance events. As of now that is my plan! Anyone know anyone in Barcelona??

Sunday, August 19, 2012


So the first day I got here the camera on my phone stopped working. This is half the reason I have not posted about Edinburgh because posts without pictures are boring. The other reason would be AB1, animal body one. I HATED not having a camera to capture my time spent in London. It was a great little side trip. Here is a little summary of my life in Edi so far:

First few days:

-Within landing, customs, leaving my luggage at a fellow students apartment and checking into my hostel I lost my passport. Not the best way to start a trip...the next couple of days in London I was calling baggage services like all the time and cab companies I had ridden in but nothing. Do you know how much a replacement visa costs? 200 pounds!! That's a lot. That doesn't even include the passport! So thank goodness 2 days later it was found by someone in my friend's apartment building and they posted a found sign. Phew...I didn't really tell many people about this because I was so in denial.

-4 hour train ride and I was in London! I went right to the Olympic park area and was blown away with how many athletes were just walking around in their team gear. I basically just sat around and goggled at everyone. The next day I rented one of the Barclays City bikes for 1 pound and just rode wherever I pleased, getting lost in London and stopping for snacks and lattes. You can drop the bikes back off at any of the rental spots around the city and just check another one out from wherever with the same unlock code for the whole day. For 1 "quid" (I hate that word....) BEST VALUE EVER.

-Made my way to Hyde park and biked part of the Olympic tri course which was awesome. The women's race was the next day so it was all set up. Then there was a hugeeeee area of the park closed off where you could go in and watch live coverage on one of 5 big screens while lounging in the grass with a ton of Team GB fans so I did this for the afternoon and it was enjoyable. Then a like band from Clemson was playing on one of the stages??!? So random.

-Stumbled upon a booth with an endless pool, tri bike and treadmill set up where they were holding a mini triathlon! It was for the ITU federation or whatever it is called. So I had to do it. They gave me a bathing suit so I jumped in the pool, swam until it got too fast, biked as hard as I could for 3 minutes then ran as far as I could in 3 minutes. It was so fun and by the end the people that were watching were all cheering and it was hilarious. Part of me was like omg don't look at me I am running in a bathing suit on a treadmill at high speed my thighs must be like doing the wave...not attractive. The other part was like this is awesome!! My bathing suit was the UK flag. Great.

-That night I just went back to the Olympic village area and hung out more, sad that I had to leave the next day but excited to be able to explore Edinburgh! I had also just found out my passport was in good hands, so it was a nice night :)


-Love it, have a place to move into Sept 1st with 3 roommates, I get some ocean vistas on my longer runs, professors are awesome, campus has like ridiculous views of hills all in the background, people say "Hiya" to say hello. I made a good decision coming here.

Will post more later. The hindlimb bones, nerves and muscles of the dog are calling my name :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Season Wrap Up

fwfJust because I want to document my racing from this season and have it as a record for myself here goes.

This is so late in coming up because I just got distracted and sort of lost focus with my triathlon goals once I decided to move to Scotland for veterinary school. SO, finally, here it is, like 4 race reports or something.  I'm going to try and keep this super short. Good luck to me.

Tucson Muhoolaba (or something like that) Sprint Triathlon:
1-super tired going into this due to all of the AWESOME TriSports trifest activities but I got all set up and ready to race anyways
2-got to race against Kathy Tremblay who was on the Canadian Olympic team! She unfortunately had a crash and dropped out in London...but she was super nice and kicked my butt
3-bad bike ride but was actually able to catch second place on the run of all places!! I never do this so it was a nice confidence boost
4-had fun hanging out with my team mates afterwards and collection my prize for second female overall: a nicely monogrammed towel

St. Anothony's Triathlon in FLORIDA:
wooo hooo I had some high hopes for this race and in some ways they were met but in others not so much
1-had such a fabulous home stay with a great couple, seriously so welcoming and they were both racing so I got some insider tips!
2-got to spend a lot of time with fellow TriSports-er Steve who is hilarious and his wike is like so sweet so it was nice to have friends down there. Also got to hang with Brooke and Fred who are hilarious and was so happy to have them there, especially had fun post-race night!
3-I was able to swim in the ocean before the race which I was hoping would help a lot more than it did. In the days leading up on rides and runs and at the expo I saw SO MANY of the big name pros, that was awesome.
4-so the race...ummm the swim was awful, had those moments where I wanted to drop out, my wetsuit was burning hot and my shoulders wanted to fall off and I felt like I was drowning from the serious amounts of salt water I ate. My time reflected this struggle :)
5-My bike ride went really well, I was able to actually SEE the girls in my category because we started before the age groupers which was super helpful. So I just tried to catch as many as I could. I knew I was doing well at this point.
6-Onto the run: started to shut it down about 2.5 miles in because my stomach hurt, I knew I had had a good ride and to be honest I didn't feel like heading into the pain cave necessary. So like 4 girls passed me at the turn around but I didn't care much
7-Finished 7th or 8th (cant remember now) in the elite category but fastest bike split overall so I was super pleased with this part.

Memphis in May Sprint (in other words, head case)
1-Going into this one I tried implementing lots of mental training like signs in my room with goals, printed course maps with tactics, blah blah but did it work: No
2-the sprint race the day before went well, I just tried to go as hard as I could but I kept the run in check since I was racing the next day.
3-finished 2nd female overall, got a nice little plaque and filled up on some food afterwards and lounged in compression with Meagan.

Memphis in May Olympic:
1-Awful swim, just like kept having mini chocking attacks and coming up to sight...not too proud of myself but that's alright
2-tried to attack on the bike but seemed to loose my legs at some point, especially into the head wind
3-melted in the run and mentally just gave up from the beginning

Jeffersonville Triathlon Olympic
1-Nice, small local race just across the bridge from Louisville and got to race with many other Mideast Multisport Athletes which was pretty fun
2-Not so hot swim just sighting wise, I like had the foggiest goggles, had to clear them like 4 times and stop to look where I was going and lots of aphids in the water = ew
3-Good bike, it was really pretty but I was trying to be a bit conservative so I could test myself on the run
4-FINALLYYYYYYYY what I had been waiting for all season I had a good run! My time wasn't that stellar but I didn't have any stomach problems (my coach informer me I might be eating too many calories on the bike...once I looked I realized I was being a complete cow so cutting back there made a world of difference). More so I didn't give up mentally and just tried to push the pace the whole way.
5-First woman overall, which had a nice cash prize.

Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon Olympic
1-Got to stay with a college room mate which was so fun and great to see her. Also offered a wonderful distraction for the race.
2-Swim went very well. I think this was because I got 2 open water swims in the week leading into the race. I was super happy with my time here.
3-bike was interesting...super super hilly and a loop course you did three times so got to see multiple hills. I had a minor freak out attack when my rear derailleur broke 2 times so I had to dismount my bike twice. A guy with the race staff helped me get it right and going again. I might have cursed. I also had one of my aero pads collapse like onto my bars but that was ok, I just rode with a droopy elbow.
4-on the run into transition i accidentally followed a pro girl into the pro area so I took the scenic route to my rack. oops.
5-run went well for me, I was in the lead the whole time (thank goodness I can bike hills :)) and there were 2 out and backs so I knew the position of my competition the whole time. Pretty happy with how it went and again no stomach cramps.
6-Won the elite amateur wave and got 12th female overall (official results says 4th because a whole slew of female pros cut the swim course a bit short so they got DQ'd. I'm happy with 12th though)

So that's the season!! So I met my goal of qualifying for my pro card. I had planned on doing one more of the 5150 races, the Columbus Tri, but due to my lack of organization I tried to register too late and they were full. Oops. Now I am in Scotland and there don't seem to be too many races left over here. I really want to race one more time though, just too see how I can come up against people once more to see if I want to apply for that pro card or not. There are some pros and cons that I might post about later.

The plan now though is to fly back to the states for the Toyota Cup Championships (which I qualified for in Philly) in Dallas because I got a free entry into the race (thank you Toyota), I can fly there for free (thank you Mary) and I can stay for free (thank you Mimi Punchy and brother Willie!!), so it sort of makes sense. I will also have just had exams like 2 weeks before so school shouldn't be too insane.

YAY!! So with the help of my great coach to get me back on the training train (things got a little screwy preparing to leave for school and getting settled here) I can gain enough fitness to get myself to Dallas and perform how I would like to!

I will write a Scotland update later, I just really wanted to document my season a bit.

If you made it this far, my helmet is off to you.