Monday 5th August 2013

Workout Soundtrack: –

2.38km 11:30

What.A.Day.

I’ve had such an amazing day. I really, really cannot quite believe that I have met one of my sporting heroes and ran with her this afternoon – the one, the only: Chrissie Wellington!

Chrissie Wellington & Ally Flowers

They say you should prepare to be disappointed when you meet your heroes. Apparently they invariably turn out to be narcissistic idiots. Well, I met one of mine today and she was a lovely, down to earth and gracious person. I feel truly honoured!

I got to Hyde Park at around 1200hrs having run from Hyde Park Corner Station to the meeting point on Serpentine Road – this constituted my warm up and consisted of about a mile at a very gentle pace. On arrival Chrissie was giving a little pre-run talk to the 15 or 20 people who had shown up for the event, shortly before the run she set aside some time for photographs, autographs and a chat with us all individually. What a lovely, down to earth and gracious woman!

At 1230hrs we set off on a 2.38km run around the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. I struck out in front with Kris Gemmell, the New Zealand Olympic triathlete, and had a chat with him and some others around. It was at this point I noticed South African Ironman and Duathlete, Dan Forer, running alongside too. I was totally star struck but still strolling along at a nice easy pace and chatting.

Kris Gemmell & Ally Flowers

Me with Kris Gemmell, NZ Olympic Triathlete before the run. He gave me some good advice for doing well in the swim.

One of the amateur guys who was with us up front suggested a kicker over the last 1km so as we turned the last corner we all set off at the fastest pace we could muster. I’m pleased to say that Kris decided to stay with the pack and for a while all I could see in front of me was two other age-group athletes. I was surprised to find myself hanging in 3rd considering I’ve had 6 months off from training!

This was short lived as all of sudden Dan came racing out of nowhere and as he went past me I believe I said something like “Shit, I thought I had you there!”. At this point he began to slow down and I caught up with him to run in shoulder to shoulder after exchanging fist bumps!

Dan Forer & Ally Flowers

Me and Dan Forer after a 2.5km run! We fist bumped with about 200m to go and finished almost shoulder to shoulder.

After the run had finished I exchanged details with Dan after letting him know of my future plans. I look forward to keeping in touch with him over the course of my journey! Also after the run, Chrissie sat down with a bunch of us for 35 minutes to talk about training and racing – she gave so many good tips! Here are just a few that I managed to note down:

  • Go off harder than race pace in the first 200m of the swim – it sets the rhythm for the Ironman or 70.3
  • Try to maintain a steady heart rate/power output for the duration of your race
  • There are 4 main components to training:
  1. Recovery
  2. Strength (Pool = paddle work, Bike/Run = hill repeats)
  3. Race Pace work (train at race pace for a few sessions per week)
  4. Intervals faster than race pace – they hurt but so does racing so it is good mental and physical conditioning!
  • Try to do some swim sessions in the early morning as this replicates the start times of most Ironman and 70.3 races.
  • Use shorter strokes in open water, they are far more efficient and less difficult to utilise than a longer, pool based stroke with so many bodies around
  • Brick sessions are massively beneficial if you can fit them in (e.g. 1 hour on the bike transitioning straight to 1 hour on the run)
  • Double run and double bike days are good for mental conditioning if you can fit them in (e.g. AM Run, PM Swim, PM Run / AM Bike, PM Swim, PM Bike)

Chrissie opened the floor for Questions and Answers and I managed to get in a question about how she felt she could do if she focused solely on the marathon. Chrissie responded that, although it may not be obvious, she is quite fragile and can be susceptible to over-use injuries therefore she feels that she would probably be able to run a 2:30/2:35 with some effort! So, with that, the afternoon came to a close with just enough time for one more photograph and an autograph too:

Smiling and joking with Chrissie after the run. Lovely lady, gave advice freely and inspired me to push for what I want out of triathlon!

Smiling and joking with Chrissie after the run. Lovely lady, gave advice freely and inspired me to push for what I want out of triathlon!

Meeting Chrissie 'Smiles' Wellington. She asked what my goal time was for the Pisa Marathon (my debut) so I told her it was 3:08. She asked why I'd picked that and when I told her it was because that was her debut marathon time she laughed and told me to try for 3:07 or better!

Meeting Chrissie ‘Smiles’ Wellington. She asked what my goal time was for the Pisa Marathon (my debut) so I told her it was 3:08. She asked why I’d picked that and when I told her it was because that was her debut marathon time she laughed and told me to try for 3:07 or better!

Best.Day.Ever.

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