30. November 2014 · Comments Off on To the Ocean we GO! & Weekly Roundup · Categories: embrace the bike, Weekly Roundup

Yesterday due to a variety of factors (but mostly the cold), we wimped out of the group brick session.  But we still did our own thing once the sun came up.

We rode to the ocean!  I read those words and I pause and think, can it really be true?  Am I really living cycling distance from the ocean now?!  And yes, yes we are:


Living the dream!




We cycled up from Lake Worth to Palm Beach all alongside the ocean, a round trip of 85 km. Tom’s fancy biking skills captured the action along the coastline:  IMG_7021

All in all it was pretty perfect.

And today I cut myself some slack and ran with a friend rather than doing the club run, and it was a wonderful chatty  16km in the early morning sunshine.


Weekly Roundup

Mon:  Rest

Tues:  Brick session – 60.5 km bike in Z1 HR,  5km run in Z2

Wed:  53km bike with an extremely hard intervals session on the bike, 6*(4min hard, 1min easy).  The session absolutely killed me.  I was too tired to go to track  – which was a good thing, because I later found it was cancelled due to Thanksgiving anyway.

Thurs:  53km bike Z1, and after Thanksgiving dinner, a 13km pootle on the bike.

Fri: 50.5km on the bike with another hard intervals session, 8*(3min hard, 1min easy).  Got caught in an extreme rainstorm on the cycle home, drenched to the bone!

Sat:  Brick session – our wonderful ride to the Ocean in Z1, 85km, followed by a very uncomfortable 2km Z1 run where my body told me it had had enough.

Sun:  Z1 run, nice and easy with a friend, 16km.



Swim:  still nil!

Bike:  320 km / 200 miles, 12h29

Run:  23 km / 14 miles, 2h11

Total time:  14h 41 min


This was one of the lightest running weeks I have had in a long time, but I’ve upped the cycling so I think it evens out.


November in Numbers:

Swim:  4400 m

Bike:  801 km / 498 miles

Run:  170 km / 106 miles


What does it for you?  Ocean, mountains, flat, hilly?  I love it all!  But now we are in flat ocean land and it’s pretty good!  Although I wish we had more access to proper trails here for the running.

Do you have an off-season?   Sort of?  I’m experimenting.

We enjoyed our very first American Thanksgiving yesterday!

Thanksgiving isn’t part of the British calendar, so Tom has never experienced one before.  I’m originally from Canada so I did grow up with the holiday, but it’s in September in Canada and takes the back seat as a bit of minor holiday.  I also haven’t lived in Canada since 2003.

We started the day with a wonderful cycle, including a coffee stop (I’ve said it before – the best kind of rides!).  The sun was out, it was warm but not hot, everyone was out being active and enjoying the day off.  We cycled by the lake in Okaheelee and then discovered a bird sanctuary nearby (shhh, it said no bikes but we were only pootling):


image  image



Have I mentioned how much I am loving this SUNSHINE?!

We then joined my sister and her husband at his parents’ house for our very first full on traditional Thanksgiving meal.  It was amazing!  We ate it so fast we forgot to take a picture, but the table was overflowing with:

  • turkey for the meat-eaters
  • roast salmon
  • cranberry jello pudding !!
  • sweet potato with some sort of cookie crust!
  • cornbread stuffing
  • mashed potato
  • corn on the cob
  • green beans

And coffee, pumpkin pie and chocolate pecan pie for pudding!


We all went out for an extended family pootle on the bikes after stuffing ourselves:




Today is, I gather, something called BLACK FRIDAY which is all about shopping at ridiculous hours.  We cycled off at 5:30am to do our regular intervals session around the mall (sounds strange, I know, but actually it’s a great 2km track loop that is generally traffic-free at that hour) and it was FREEZING COLD.  There was a lot of car traffic at the mall this morning – who are these crazy people?!


Is that a perfect track or what?



It was 8 C (46 F) and I had to get out all my usual UK winter layers!  Good thing Rapha did a free repair on my winter tights after my crash this year!  We lost feeling in our hands and feet so before heading home we had to warm up with some Black Friday coffee first!


Poor bikes didn't get to come inside!

Poor bikes didn’t get to come inside!



50km later (31 miles), we still hadn’t warmed up. Time for a fire!  Who says winter doesn’t come to Florida?  🙂


What are your Thanksgiving traditions? We don’t have any yet, but I suspect a good bike ride and/or run will become a staple!

Do you do Black Friday?  Did you snag any good deals?  Maybe if there had been a bike shop doing a bonanza… !

25. November 2014 · Comments Off on Training plans, and Weekly Roundup · Categories: Weekly Roundup

When I was training for Ironman Lanzarote, I followed a very strict training plan from Don Fink‘s book, Be Iron Fit.  I had never followed an actual set training plan before, but I felt like I needed to take the full Ironman pretty seriously.

I did the 30 week “Competitive” training plan.  It was pretty hard core, although I won’t dare whinge because I bet half of you are all following it too.  I was working full time in the City in London as an insurance litigator at a world’s top ten law firm, so it meant I had to fit things in pretty early in the morning to get it all done.  This usually meant a stint on the turbo trainer, a run to the office, a swim, or a combination of the three.  I was pretty adept at the quick change and my office did have amazing locker room facilities.

I just wore the suit underneath my sports kit, boom!

I just wore the suit underneath my sports kit, boom!


But now, with a full year’s worth of races behind me, including Miami Man Half Ironman 2 weeks ago, I’m not exactly taking it easy, but I am taking more of a laissez-faire attitude.  If it rains, I don’t ride, if I want to run, I run, and I’m not obsessing about mileage (OK, not as much as normal).  And, um, I’m not hitting the pool very often.


Week:  17 -23 November 2014

Mon:  Rest day!

Tues:  12km run in Zone 2 HR, avg pace 4:54 min/km (7:53 min/m).

Wed:  Track session with the Wellington Runners’ Club:  4*1000m w/ 200m jog; 1600m; 4*400m; 4*200m.  Longer sets at 5km pace, shorter sets at max.  Was meant to do a bike intervals session in the early morning but it was pouring rain.  First track session where I’ve felt a bit more like my old self, after running the SVP100 in August and taking some time off afterwards.

Thurs:  56km bike in Zone 1 HR, avg speed 26.1 km/h (16.3 mph), with a skills & bike handling session.  Including a coffee stop – best type of ride!  Yoga class in the evening.

Fri:  Run workout: w/u, 15 min tempo; 5 min jog; 8*(1 min hard, 1 min easy); c/d. 11km total.  The 15 min tempo was at 4:25 min/km pace (7:07 min/m) and the 1 minute hards were at around 3:45 min/km (6 min/m).  This workout was brutal and amazing.  I was supposed to do group bike intervals in the early morning, but it was pissing it down with rain so the session was cancelled.

Sat:  Group brick session with RW Training:  45 km with avg speed of 30.6 km/h (19.1 mph) followed by a 5km run at 4:45 min/km (7:38 min/m).

Sun:  Long run with the Wellington Runners’ Club, 23km (14 miles) at 5:07 min/km pace (8:13 min/m) and then another 4km easy when I got back home with some visiting friends, for a total of 27km.


TOTAL:  10 hours

Swimming:  Big fat NIL

Cycling: 101 km, 3h37

Running:  64 km, 5h30

Other:  1 hour yoga

How about you?

Do you follow a training plan?  After seeing how obsessive I got about the Don Fink plan, I’m not entirely sure they’re good for me!

What’s your favourite bit of training?  For me it’s really all about running, although I’ve recently fallen back in love with cycling.  Swimming is always a bit meh, which is ironic in that it’s always my best leg of the triathlon.

24. November 2014 · Comments Off on CRASH! Or, crash lesson in Rule 5 · Categories: Crash, embrace the bike, Triathlon

Let’s get stuck in. It’s a swelteringly hot November day – yeah, that sounds awfully strange to me too. Sweltering in November? Remember, I just moved to Florida and am adjusting (and trying not to post sunshine pictures on Instagram every 2 hours).

And I want to go out on my bike. But today is supposed to be a rest day….

What? I want to ride my bike?!

Let’s back up here.


April 19 2014. 6 days after I ran the London Marathon in a very happy 3:24:32, feeling good, I set out to do a 100 mile ride. Ironman Lanzarote was just 5 weeks away.

It was a sunny 7°C / 44°F. Tom and I had driven to his parents’ house in Goodworth Clatford, Hampshire for the weekend in order to get some solid cycling in.   We were pretty lucky with the weather – it wasn’t raining. (It’s always raining in England, except when it isn’t. Which is seldom.)

I set out from my in-laws’ house in Goodworth Clatford, all by myself. Tom is much faster than I am so we were each going to do our own thing.

I felt good! Here is the photo evidence! I was going to smash that 100 miles! In fact, maybe I’d even do 112 miles for good measure!

Feeling good! I’m going to kill it! YEAH!


Km 105 / mile 65: I wish I could say a rabid badger jumped out at me. Or at least a swerving lorry. But no. It was nothing but a pothole, me and a bloody pothole that I didn’t notice until I was wheel deep, down on the aerobars with no brakes.


It might not have been QUITE this big.


I slammed out of that pothole and my left arm fell out of the aerobars. Here is a moment of honesty: I don’t have skills on the bike. I’m just hanging on for the ride. And this bronco wanted me off.

I had just been cresting a hill when I hit the pothole, so as I lost control the bike picked up speed on the descent. By some miracle (because I sure can’t claim skill), as I hit 45 km/h / 28 m/h, I ended up on the grassy verge and crashed into a tree.

I was pretty sure I was going to die. Or be permanently disabled. You don’t hit trees at that speed and walk away.

My front wheel and my helmet hit the tree. They saved my life. The force of the impact was taken by the fork and steerer tube. The steerer tube ripped through the head tube. Pretty impressive stuff. I flipped through the air and landed on my back.

I was alive.

My first thought was to dial an ambulance. But then I realised that despite living in the UK for 11 years, I couldn’t remember what number that is (turns out it’s 999). So then I called my father in law Chris and said in my best understated British-learned way, “I’m afraid I’ve had a bit of an accident.”

Anyone want to buy a fixer-upper?


Chris rescued me an hour later by car, along with Tom’s brother, and Tom eventually arrived too on his bike, desperate with relief that his worst fears about me cycling alone had come true and yet I was ok.

I was ok. I still fainted in the shower, though.


This was 5 weeks before Ironman Lanzarote. 30 weeks of training, 10-20 hour training weeks. And my thighs were a mass of hematoma and my bike frame was smashed beyond repair.


50 shades of purple and green!

50 shades of purple and green!

and yellow!


The happy ending to this is that I did manage to get back on the bike only a week later, my road bike this time, and complete my 100 mile ride in the pouring rain in the Wiggle Ups & Downs Sportive.  I even smiled (I promise it wasn’t just for the camera):

I love riding in the rain. I do. I DO. (Ok. I hate it.)


And Tom managed to get Trek to send me a crash replacement frame in a very slick black. But the fear still lingered, and I rode my road bike in Ironman Lanzarote. I’ll tell you about that another time.

But I’m pretty damned excited to be excited about the damned bike again.

24. November 2014 · Comments Off on What the £@$% is Rule 5 anyway?! · Categories: Rule 5, Triathlon

In my last post, I told you about my CRASH SMASH into a tree as a crash course in Rule 5.

Are you thinking “What the hell is this Rule 5 nonsense?!”

Embrace the Rule 5!

Rule 5 comes from the Velominati, who have very kindly put together a list of 95 golden rules for cyclists.  No, I definitely can’t remember them all, although I have picked up some truly key things, like:

  • Rule 37:  The arms of the eyewear shall always be placed over the helmet straps.
  • Rule 12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
  • Rule 9:  If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass.  Period.

There are actually lots more that really truly relate to actual proper cycling stuff, but then I get bored.  However, although the badass in me loves Rule 9 (cuz I tell you, I have ridden in EVERY TYPYE OF BAD WEATHER, cycling in the UK), the best, the greatest, the most magical rule is:

Rule 5:  Harden the fuck up.

Rule 5 solves everything.  Don’t feel like running today?  Rule 5.  It’s raining too hard to even contemplate starting the ride?  Rule 5.  Water is too cold?  Rule 5.  You’re hungry?  You’re tired?  It’s too early, it’s too late?  RULE 5!!!!!

So embrace Rule 5, I say…. although the flip side is Tom’s favourite quip, “Rest is Best!”, but more on that another time!

19. November 2014 · Comments Off on Welcome to Rule 5! · Categories: Triathlon

My name is Julia.



I’m mid-30s and started triathlon and endurance sports in 2012.  Not very long ago, I know!

It’s a bit of an addiction.

My love of sport has led me from quitting a pretty amazing job as a lawyer in a big City law firm in London, UK….

…to moving to Wellington, south Florida with my ironman husband Tom, where we can train year-round and where we have come to set up a premium triathlon and endurance sports business.

Please join me on on my rambles and our journey.  I warn you, I’m easily persuaded to try just about anything new, anything extreme, anything ultra!