|The pink decorated hall before the event|
|My sister and I at the ball|
It was easy to fit back into the UK way of life and be minutes away from my family particularly my sister who yearns for me to move back. Nathan and I found it tough to leave.
However, once arriving back on Lanzarote soil it was time to focus again. Whilst in the UK I turned my attention to an ongoing issue that I thought had resurfaced since being in Lanzarote; my asthma. I had previously had this taken off my medical records as I tried hard to beat it and wanted to go into the Army (it has to be off your records for a period of time to get in). With this not being a desire anymore I had to do what was best for me and get an inhaler. I hated the fact I had to do this as begrudged having to rely on them as I used to but I was really starting to suffer. In fact one of the first things my mum said to me was "you sound wheezy" (mum's really do know best). This alone was enough to get my arse down to the doctors. I went back to the rock with the security blanket of my inhaler - no more sleepless nights being unable to breathe! However, I was scared of over using it.
Two days after landing I had an Olympic triathlon, The Volcano, based at Club La Santa. This was a perfect time to test the waters for 3 weeks time where I would be doing the Ironman. The morning of the race I felt shocking. I had used my inhaler all night and come the morning couldn't even chew a piece of granola without having to stop to breathe. I cried on the balcony to myself. Nathan seeing me struggling mentally and physically told me I just needed to accept that I something was triggering my asthma and I had to get over that and myself. The words were tough and needed and accompanied by a sympathetic hug which made it a little better. Since then the inhaler has not left my side and it's something I am just going to have to get used to.
The Volcano triathlon was nothing to write home about. I managed a sub 3 hours in 2h49 which I was pleased about but in hindsight was disappointed in my bike split of 1h24. The route although tough (it is Lanzarote!) took in roads I know so well and I felt like I was pushing strong especially by the amount of people I overtook but I knew I could have done better. When I saw that Nathan was 7 minutes quicker than me on that split I was even more disappointed as although he is a strong cyclist I shouldn't have let him have that much. I did have to put things into perspective though as I knew I wasn't on top form before the race but I am not one to make excuses. I put it behind me and continued training to Bella's tough plan which I trusted.
|At the finish of The Volcano triathlon with Nathan and friend Barry|
|Watching the sunrise in Barcelona as the triathletes got ready to race|
My parents arrived on the Tuesday to support me. On the Wednesday I went over to La Santa with Nathan and Welshman friend Aled to register and get a massage. It was during this hour that I found out I had compartment syndrome in my calves. This basically means there was building of pressure within my muscles which was causing me some pretty horrible pain which I had tried, and failed, to ignore. Dave, an epic cyclist and brutal masseuse, was not surprised when I told him I was in agony when trying to run over the last week. He did the best he could by massaging them and said the only thing I could do to help was not to run until race day and then strap my leg with Kinesio tape and wear compression sleeves (something I have never done but thankfully they came in pink!). Whilst hearing this bad news ProBike were checking my bike over and putting the latest toys put on my bike. These were my 60mm ceramic bearing Fast Forward wheels (a huge thank you to FFWD for your support on my way to Kona). Not only did they look damn sexy (particularly so as my dad spend hours making them pink for me) but they were sure to help me during the race.
|My sexy wheels|
|Some of my great triathlon friends :)|
Amber and Tom were staying with Nathan and I and Friday morning I took them swimming in Puerto Del Carmen in preparation for their IronKids in the afternoon. This was their first time in open water let alone sea and it was a choppy day thanks to the relentless wind which hadn't let up after the scorching 46 degree heat the week before. I was also secretly trying to reassure myself it'll die down by tomorrow.
The kids seemed to love their time sea swimming, even if it was a bit chilly without a wetsuit! I know they particularly enjoyed how clear the water was and we spent some time looking at the fish which then shocked them as we saw a huge ray casually swimming a mere 2 metres away. An awesome experience for them.
After some breakfast it was time to sort my kit and as normal this is where my triathlon OCD kicks in as I lay all my kit out on the bed and then triple check I have everything before packing it away. I was amazed how much my kit had developed to having a hint of pink on everything! I also have to make note to how special and significant my race number was. The number 60 was the same number I was when I competed in my first Ironman in Wales in 2013 - the day we lost Rosie. I could only hope this was a good omen.
|Ready to go|
|Walking into transition (no-one was surprised I was one of the first)|
|Transition pose with Nathan and my great friend Aled|
Once we eventually made it back out of transition it was time to watch Amber and Tom do the Ironkids. I had a huge amount of pride watching them compete especially as they also raised £636 for SUDEP Action. Both smashed their runs (the swim was taken out as the sea was just too choppy, the right decision in my eyes). Tom said after he wouldn't do an Ironman but Amber said one day she would like to.
|My little champions|
|I'm a lucky girl with these as my family|