Thursday, 11 April 2013

I've moved!

I have decided to move my blogspot in order to expand on the things I can write about and post on the website. Each blog here has been receiving about 500 views so I feel its time for the next step! You can find me now at with all the blogs I have written since New Year 2013. The rest will remain here until I have had a chance to transfer them. You can also keep up to date with me via my twitter @KatieJSynge.

Katie X

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

It just got uglier...

Following my blog post from race day two days ago titled "The good, the bad and the ugly", I thought my cut and blistered feet were as ugly as it got. Until Tuesday, on Tuesday it got a whole lot uglier. I crashed on the A4 from Bath to Bristol, loosing grip of both handlebars after hitting something in the road, I flew straight over the handlebars landing on my head before my bike came over the top of me smashing down on the road.

Road rash down my entire left side. 

Members of the public stopped at helped, covered me in a blanket and calling an ambulance while I led where I had fallen on the road, unable to open my eyes from the searing pain that was rushing through my head. The paramedic arrived and after prodding my neck decided I needed a brace and board - so called an ambulance to take me to the BRI Hospital in Bristol (and police traffic control due to the traffic I was holding up from being selfishly sprawled across both lanes of traffic trying to get into Bristol). 

Mum and Dad arrived at the hospital soon after the ambulance brought me in and after checking on the bike (!) came to see me. After X-rays on my neck and pelvis (my hip was causing a lot of pain - later found it was raw and spread road rash) I was discharged from hospital and headed home with no more than a headache, bruising, cuts, torn clothes (warggh my Castelli! ) a sorry looking two week old bike and a destroyed helmet. 

The doctors couldn't believe I came off as lightly as I did from the fall. It seems my helmet took the full impact of my fall. It scares me to think the state I would be in right now if I had not been wearing one. I, as I know many others do, will frequently pop to the shop down the road, or pedal to a friends house with as little as a bobble hat on. Why do we make the effort to put a helmet on for long training rides or races and not these little commutes that in our minds seem insignificant?

Helmets may not be the outfit-topping accessory but it may well be the thing that saves your life.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The good, the bad and the ugly.

For me personally, this was a very mixed race of positives and negatives despite having posted my first DNF in my elite career of Pentathlon and Triathlon combined. The conditions were perfect, sunshine (even had a cheeky tan when I got in the pool this morning!) but cool temperatures with as ever at Castle Coombe race the circuit – the wind picked up with every lap.

Men and women all set off at 10.30am, three and a half laps of the track would complete the first run leg of 10km, before we entered T1 to grab our bikes and set out on the 40km 13 lap bike course. I led the first 5km of the run feeling strong and together before realising my fatal error. I wasn’t wearing socks.  The trainers I was wearing I knew gave me blisters without, the last race (London) of the 2012 season they had torn my feet apart over the 10km run but as it was the last race of the year and I was about to take two weeks off  – I had pushed through.  Once I hit 5km I could feel my feet falling apart, the arches of my feet were sore and I could feel blood on my heels  so I began running on the outside of my feet – needless to say not the most efficient nor stylish running technique.  I pushed hard, determined to reach my bike and give the 40km a stab. Two girls overtook me which was frustrating, as my feet would simply not let me run despite my form feeling fantastic.

I posted a 38.44 for the 10km which considering the issue was average. I am adamant I could have run a mid 37 without this problem. I had felt fantastic when we started.  I entered T1 in third, left in second and within the first two laps of the bike had retrieved my lead which I held for the 40km putting just over two minutes into the girls behind me. I entered T2 and tried to put my trainers back on, thirty seconds later when I exited I ran 50m and stopped, pulled my orthotics out and carried them, ran another 50m before realising how stupid I was being. This was a minor race for me, categorised as a competitive training session. The season hadn't even started and I knew I would already be taking best part of a week off to let my feet heal; I didn't want it to be more than that. I retired and hobbled back to transition trainers in hand, feeling frustrated and upset.  

Another new change for me was the new bike, I have moved from a 48cm to a 51cm and although today I was riding my training bike (f85) as the new one (f4) hasn't arrived, it felt noticeably more comfortable and the power return seemed a little more on my side. I was therefore very happy to post the fastest female lap of the race in 5:09!

I was racing for the The Triathlon Shop – Bristol today, who had a mixed day of results! Owner and director Jon Burrage is preparing for Majorca 70.3 currently so this duathlon was a good warm up distance wise. After a good 10km, he retired during the 40km due to an injured hamstring. Get well soon boss! Matt Fisher had a great day finishing 2nd in his category, our relay team combination of Rich Shirley (bike) and Jules Richards (run) took the win in a time of 2:01, Chris Newman decided to join me 7 laps into the bike (better late than never) before going on to finish 13th overall.  A great team effort all round, as always. Even better perhaps was the support team on the side who kept us all going through the laps…you know who you are!

Dad also had a great race, after celebrating his 50th birthday the day before (this involved a four hour hike in the Brecon Beacons) he experienced his mid-life crises the eve of the race when he found out he was now classified as a supervet, but beat  his target of sub 2hr45 by 5 minutes and 7 seconds!

Last five weeks of solid training to finish the winter ‘stint’ now before race reason gets underway. Next race is BUCS sprint Championships in Calne, Wiltshire. Between now and then you can keep up to date with my training and news via my twitter feed @katiejsynge. xxx

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Winter Sunshine

Three years at Bath University has flown - and in early May this year I will be graduating with my degree in Sport and the Social Sciences. It's no secret that sport has been the priority over the last three years - having originally come to Bath to pursue Modern Pentathlon, a few months into first year and Triathlon caught my, university progress is measured by seconds deducted in the pool rather than seminar attendance rate. Now, I'm deciding what to do with life post-graduation and the possibilities are endless, it's an exciting if not slight daunting time in life!

2012 was merely my taster
in the sport of triathlon

After my first year in triathlon in 2012, I know I've got an awful lot more to give...don't even feel like I've begun to get started on what I feel I am yet to prove. Therefore before I exhaust the sports performance avenue all together and sit in an office 9-5, I've decided to turn full time in Triathlon next year, and, I am hoping to spend a substantial winter block in Lanzarote. 

After visiting the island in 2011 and 2012 with the University triathlon club I fell in love with it, the climate that allowed us to be outside from 7am-10pm in January! Lanzarote is not only a hot-spot for tourists all year round, but also the choice of the Brownlees, Jenkins and other top triathletes to put in some serious winter hours.

Some may ask what the benefits are of spending money and leaving the UK during the winter to train? Last month is a perfect example. After the pool and gym closures that come as standard over Christmas and New Year, we were then landed with a week of snow, closing these facilities further. The roads were un-rideable in any safe manner and the pavements were ice laden stalling run training. Short of a daily stint on the turbo and masses of conditioning, it was a pretty frustrating time for all...

The University of  Bath and the cities facilities will take some beating, the 50m pool, hills (!) and gym. However one venue is contesting  pretty highly... 

...and that venue is Sands Beach in Costa Teguise. A complex South-East of the Island perfect for the family, sports enthusiast or those looking to kick back and enjoy a cocktail or two.

A short clip showing the 'Iron Couple' Stephen and Bella Bayliss (and baby Bayliss Charlie) based at Sands Beach who describe the venue as 'perfect' for triathletes.

Professional Ironman Triathlete Eimear Mullan from Ireland also frequently bases herself at Sands Beach facilities.

The Sands Beach 25m laned pool was built last August and has already attracted over 15 triathlon camps who have based themselves at the facility. Not only that but a fully equipped gym with treadmill, rowing machines and weights, and not to forget dry empty roads, sunshine and free (and warm!) open water swimming. And for those uber-active ones amongst us, for the days off training there's windsurfing and dive tuition...

What more could a triathlete, of any level want?

To keep updated with Sands Beach offers, athletes and events or simply to find out more click on any of the links below to be redirected to their official pages.

Website            Twitter                        Facebook
Click Here         @ActiveLanzarote        Click Here

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chilly Duathlon February 2013

Well, the DB Max "Chilly Duathlon" should probably be renamed the "Snowy" Duathlon after today's shinanagins. 12.15pm, -2 and Arctic winds, a fine day for running around Chippenham in our swimsuits...


I travelled to the event with the Bath University Triathlon Club, when we arrived at 10.15 to falling snow there was no immediate rush to leave the warmth of the coach, register and set up transition. The great thing about the DB Max races is they run the duathlon in November, then this one in February on exactly the same course so - taking the conditions into account - you can compare your times pretty neatly.

My first run at BUCS was 10.59, today I ran 11.27 - felt strong so I was surprised, bike was seemingly worse but then again so were the conditions but was very pleased with some consistent bike splits, and the last run was sub 30 longer than my first - which was a significant improvement from BUCS. Overall I found my times disappointing - it had been a long 21hr training week and, the conditions were bleak to say the least. I was however proud as punch to post the second fastest T2 time, after race winner and fellow TTS buddy Alex Matchett.

proud of my 2nd fastest T2!
Down the finishing straight to finish first

Great performance put in by the University team - 2nd overall which was fantastic, with Chris Silver finishing 4th and Brian Glynn overall 6th. The Triathlon Shop - Bristol didn't do too bad either (!), taking overall first male and female spots, 1st Team and fastest bike split.

Throughout the week there had been a few bets it seems, appearing from colleagues at work (The Triathlon Shop) between myself and bike fitter/time triallist Chris Newman (though I still help a couple of minutes over his runs - he put in the fastest bike of the 30seconds...) and some DB Max guys between me and the eventual second place over twitter. So what should have been a nice relaxed race, turned into the be all or end all of the 2013 season kick off...

Still reeling from the fact this guy beat me...

But... may the best one win
Bit of a break now - last 12 week stint is underway of winter training - next race will be BUCS Sprint Triathlon Championships on the 5th of May in Calne, Wiltshire. In the meantime, you can follow updates of my training and progress through my twitter feed @KatieJSynge

Keep training! X

Friday, 22 February 2013

On the home straight...

January has been a tough month....the 12 week block of training since the end of the 2012 season is over, the excitement of Christmas has passed, then there's another 12 weeks to go from February - April. January's just stuck in the middle, presenting training challenges with ice, freezing winds and dark starts and finishes to the day.

Getting in the km's in the 50m pool in Bath, currently doing 13 swim sessions a fortnight...hopefully it will be worth it!

Race season is not far make the most of the intense training time we have left!
However, we're now into February, and although the weather remains bleak, there is a light on the horizon of a little race this Sunday, the third year running - the DB Max Chilly Duathlon (it's all in the name!). Mentally, this small local race poses such a break-up for training and has kick started the last 12 week block. 

So if your struggling with motivation to get through the last part of winter, enter a duathlon, or run or bike race, to remind you why you do the sport, and why the winter training will SO be worth it come May! Watch some YouTube videos, remind yourself what transitions are and get out when the suns shining.

I'll post an update after race day!

@KatieJSynge : Twitter

Friday, 18 January 2013

Winter Training Update

Well, the snow is falling thick and fast in Bath, 10.30am and there's a good six inches on the ground, doesn't look like its going anywhere fast either! This of course makes training slightly tricky - the pool is closed, the bike wont be leaving the house, so snow running and turbo time it is!

Since coming back from Majorca, training slowed down a little. The running and swimming while out in Spain were no more intensive, if anything less - than the training over the past 3 months, but the cycling was longer, harder and hillier than my legs or body were used too. I found myself lagging for a few days back in the UK, which affected all three disciplines - not just tired bike legs.

Winter hitting Bath hard!

Training is currently done in 14 day blocks. 10 days hard and intensive then 4 days recovery with just one or two sessions each day at a lower intensity, like an hours aerobic swim or a two hour ride. The focus this winter is swimming - after securing elite starts last year, I still found myself coming out the water mid-last which didn't give me a chance to be in faster paced bike packs or use my run very much. During each 14 day block covers 12-14 hours of swimming...hopefully it will pay off! At this time of the year, the cycling is long and steady, with two or three  interval sessions during each block.

Spreading some festive cheer round Bristol

This is my first 'proper' winter of training after a full season of's hard work! Last year I was averaged about 14 hours over the winter, this year its a bit more serious and about 20hrs a week. I'm enjoying the swimming more than I thought I would, its a real boost seeing your times come down each week, doing sessions off faster times and setting PB's. I love the treadmill sessions - I find them great for holding your form over faster sessions and they certainly make you work hard! I've always been a runner though - and enjoy just as much the steady runs around the fields and city at a more leisurely pace.

Poolside work in Bath
Aside from training - its also final year at University! A 15,000 word dissertation due in April (on young elite injured athletes and the affect this has on their self and athletic identity) and other modules alongside, its always go-go-go! Planning for life post-graduation is also something to consider in between training and work.

 Right, time to hit the turbo! x