Sophie Coldwell: August Athlete Report Part 1

August Athlete Report (Part 1) by AMANZI Girl Sophie Coldwell

The last two and half weeks have been spent abroad for a race and a training camp – the trip began with drive down to Luton with my mum, travelling buddy Katie Synge, two bike boxes, three people’s luggage, Molly the collie and Daisy the chicken – saying the car was full would be an understatement and yes, we did get some odd looks at the airport when Daisy was brought out of the car to get some fresh air before her onward travel to Kent!

Katie and I made it to Geneva however when we were waiting for our train to our hotel we thought we had ages to kill for the next train, we waited patiently on the platform only to realise we were at the wrong place and that we only had minutes to make the next train on the platform across the station, the lift was broken so it was back up on the escalators (not ideal with bike boxes!) we made the train and after an incident with a grumpy ticket officer and following a very brisk walk through the red light district we made it to our hotel.

The day before the race we decided to go figure out the bike course, it was also a good excuse to check out the beautiful sights!  With no official briefing we armed ourselves with two maps and headed off, we may have got it slightly wrong to start with as it took us 35 minutes to do 5km…. safe to say we could have ran it quicker but we worked it out and we thankfully found the 750m climb as that would have been a bit of a shock in the race if we hadn’t! After a not so straight forward bike reccie, I was convinced the one for the swim would be easier as there was an official one for all the juniors – how wrong could I be! I caught up with the other GB juniors racing and we started swimming to the first buoy, we got 350m out only for a police boat to start circling us and then escort back to land as there had obviously been a lack of communication between the police and the ETU.

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Race morning came and it was time to get ready for my last ever european cup as a junior – my first one was back in 2011 in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary where much to the surprise of myself and everyone else I won – since then I have enjoyed a couple of podiums but haven’t won since so was hoping to have a good finish to my junior cup career!

With transition sorted, warm up done and athletes lined up, it was go time! I, alongside youngster Sian Rainsley, set the pace on the swim and lead from the start – the current meant the swim was pretty slow taking over 6 minutes to swim 350 metres but in the words of Dory all we could do was ‘just keep swimming’! After leading the swim out, I had a quick transition and was first on the bike, I got my head down to try and split the group behind – they caught on the hill but there were only eight of us. I should apologise for my sarcastic shouted words of encouragement but I do wonder sometimes if I’m in a triathlon with three disciplines or just a running race with a very long and varied warm up. T2 was good as I was first out and got stuck right in to the run – I led from the beginning and held off the Italian athlete Angelica Olmo to take the win.

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After watching the elite women on the Sunday we packed up and headed over to Banyoles in Spain – after a delayed flight we made it and were ready for some sunny training. The two weeks consisted of some track sessions on a track filled with trees, riding up Rocacorba where the views and descent made up for the climb, swimming in the Lake in the centre of Banyoles which was possibly the warmest and clearest place I have ever swam and of course eating plenty of ice cream!

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It’s now time to get home, move into my new house in Loughborough and get ready for our national championships in Liverpool next weekend where I hope to qualify for the World Champs in Canada three weeks later.

Sophie Coldwell: August Athlete Report Part 2

August Athlete Report (Part 2) by AMANZI Girl Sophie Coldwell

Well, what a crazy weekend it’s been! It started with a very stop-start drive up to Liverpool with mum for our last road trip of the year – the slow journey was bearable due to the fact I had Percy pig and his pals to keep me company. After getting to the hotel it was time for a quick interview, check the logistics of transition and have the athlete briefing where we were told that the weather for the following day wasn’t going to be great with hurricane ‘Bertha’ coming over from America and that we should expect the worse… I’d be lying if i said i wasn’t secretly pleased and the prospect of a slightly colder and wetter race but what we ended up with was far from ideal!

With an afternoon race there was plenty of time to chill in the morning and have a good catch up with Georgia TB who I have missed travelling and racing with this year but I’m sure will be back up and running in no time – I must say her delivery of Cornish fudge was greatly received! After a short delay, a pray to the weather gods and a dance to ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone’ we were announced down to the start with current world number 1, Gwen Jorgensen heading in first. The start line was crammed so I knew a quick start was going to be vital to set up the rest of the race – I got out well and found myself clear of the field with Jess Learmonth. I quickly dropped onto her feet as I knew this wouldn’t affect her swimming and she would also knock all the jelly fish out of my way! 10599372_10154431505575551_8668933616409168542_n

We got away on the swim with a gap of about 15 seconds to the main group, I knew Jess was a real strong rider too so after transition it was time to get our heads down to try and stay away on the bike.

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We got working straight away and managed to increase our lead on every lap. Coming into T2 we had just over a minute to Jorgensen, I knew this wouldn’t be enough to beat her but was confident it would be enough to end up on the podium. By this point in the race the wind had seriously picked up and as some points i’m sure I was running horizontally!

10610812_920155024667533_6337715903167676883_nThe inevitable happened on the final lap as Gwen over took me, I was surprised to hold on for as long as I did and to finish the race in 2nd was more that I could have hoped for. For me the race couldn’t have gone any better, my training has been geared around breakaway scenarios so for it to actually work and pay off was great!  I want to thank everyone who was cheering for me – it was honestly incredible to have all of that support out on the course!

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Unfortunately though, as the weather was deteriorating through our race so it became to dangerous for the men’s race to continue which is a real shame as it would have been a good show down!

I had my call up for the world champs yesterday so will be heading out to Canada next Sunday :D

A quick thanks to Raleigh, Zoot, Amanzi and Huub for helping over this year and to Nixie Turner and Hannah Johnston for letting me steal their photos!

Sophie Coldwell: September Race Report

September Race Report by AMANZI Girl Sophie Coldwell

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So here I am writing this blog on the way back from Canada after what I can describe as, for me, a successful World Championships.  The trip started last Sunday when myself, Chis Perham and James Teagle (who were selected only two days before due to the cancellation of the boys race at Liverpool) traveled down to Heathrow.  After the usual airport duties the nine hour flight to Minneapolis began, I can safely say after watching nearly a whole season of Friday Night Lights and the movie Draft Day my American football knowledge has dramatically improved from nothing to basically being a right know it all!  A quick interrogation in America and then it was the shorter two hour flight to Edmonton of which I don’t recollect anything as I was asleep the whole way.

Edmonton is a very big city which meant for cycling it really wasn’t great and I succumbed to just riding on the rollers.  We ran down by the river which was pleasant and swam at the local university or the very very nice pool which had two 50 metre pools next to each other as well as a diving pool. The week leading into the race I was feeling horrific, I think it was a combination of jet lag and the actual journey itself – I was waking up at 5am and having to wait for swimming, I used the time wisely though and face timed David and my mum (however trying to get my mum to work the iPad was unbelievably difficult!). The usual pre-race track session where you feel really good and running feels easy was incredibly hard work and making the normal ‘comfortable’ times at home was proving impossible and swimming was just feeling sluggish. Safe to say a couple of days out from the race I was panicking slightly, but with the work done there was nothing else I could do.

Race morning came round quickly and with the race in the afternoon I jumped onto the rollers in the morning to wake up the legs before heading down to the race. I was doing alright nerves wise until we got down to the course and everyone starts staring each other out!  It was a wetsuit swim and since I’ve now found a suit I can swim in (Huub Aura) I’m confident in that scenario. I did my usual swim warm up and then got lined up. With my spot chosen, it was a wait for the  and then time to get my head down and swim very hard!

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My swim was good and saw me enter transition 3rd, I wanted to make the first section of the bike hard to try and split the group which fortunately happened and a group of seven of us got clear – going into the race I said I would be satisfied with a top eight so here was a very good opportunity to make that happen.

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No surprise the group didn’t really want to work but as a few girls pulled the odd turn I was prepared to pull more turns to gap the next group . We came into T2 with over a minute, a small group quickly formed but after the first kilometre the podium trio from Europeans broke away and I knew realistically I was racing for 4th.  It was getting close towards the end with America’s Everson close behind but I held on for 4th so was over the moon with that result.

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I had two days between my individual race and the relay so I tried to recover quick and get ready to race again – this obviously included a trip to a enormous shopping mall complete with a pirate ship, sea lion show, ice rink and water park!  I was excited to race again and with GB’s track record in relays, hoping to bring back some bling!  I was first leg and after a very very short triathlon passed over to Chris in 4th, he had another solid leg and handed over to Lucy still in 4th – Luce had a great swim (as expected) and came first with a little lead which she  on during the bike meaning Gordon was handed a 30 second lead.

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He had another great race after medalling in the individual race and held the gap back to the Aussies and Canadians on the swim/bike meaning he didn’t have to work too hard on the run! He crossed the line and that was it… we were world champions!  We stole the finishing had a little grove on the podium and ate 48 doughnuts between us so all in all it was a very good day!Bwe3UNMIUAEufBY.jpg-large

I still have two more races left, this Friday I fly out to France for my last French grand prix of the year for Team Metz, then back for my last block of training with some heat lab work before heading off to Mexico for my first world cup followed by a little end of season holiday!

Thanks to everyone for their messages over the Championships, all your support has been great and really appreciated but a special mention to my housemates who have been little gems and my lovely mum!

Also thanks for the continued support from Huub, Zoot, Raleigh and Amanzi.

Sophie Coldwell: October Athlete Report

480358_10200699900491663_527330759_nSeason done, break had and tomorrow marks the start of training for 2015! This has been my 11th year competing in triathlons, I raced my first one as an 8 year old, where I couldn’t even swim 50m freestyle, biked on a mountain bike (which weighed close to 10 stone) and then ran around in one of my mum’s t-shirts! So it does seems weird 13.03.05 003that I have finally done all the children, youth and junior races and in 2015 I take the next step to becoming a fully fledged senior as I become an under 23 and have to master the art of the Olympic distance!

My last race of the season wasn’t what I wanted in terms of overall position but there were still some positives. I think people sometimes get too caught up in a finishing time or position and maybe if it’s not what they were wanting or expecting they feel as if it was a bad race or a waste of a weekend. My last race was out in Cozumel but unfortunately the couple of days into the race I wasn’t feeling 100%… probably all the Mexican food! Come race day I was determined to give my first senior world cup a good go so from the start I got my head down. The water was so warm and so clear I had to keep focused on swimming and 10321711_10152283181160728_5188780099835865493_onot on all the fish, I did and I was rewarded with the quickest swim. The bike however wasn’t quite as fun and it ended up being a roll around with 55 others and the run was even less fun than that! I was overly hot, my legs were sore, my head was pounding and I was getting stomach cramps – not ideal but I was not going to get a DNF next to my name! I finished (just) and was relieved as it meant I could finally chill out, have a break from training and a holiday!

I’m now back, enjoyed my break, caught up with Uni work and am now ready to return to training tomorrow!

Hope everyone enjoys their winter training but remember…. ‘let’s be careful out there!’

5 Footcare Tips for Triathletes and Runners

Taking care of feet can be a huge obstacle for long-distance runners and triathletes, but with a few preventative measures the worst of problems can be avoided. The importance of taking care of feet cannot be understated, since neglecting the feet can lead to plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and other serious injuries. Triathletes especially have a challenge due to the fact they often run on tired legs that compromise their form. Since runners use their feet so much for the sport they love, they really should take the time to keep their feet happy. The following tips will help ward off foot problems for runners.

1. Experiment with Socks

Every runner has a sock method that they swear prevents blisters. The truth is since every runner’s body is different, what works for one runner will not work for the next. The best way to find socks that work the best for your feet is to try out different methods. There are special moisture-wicking socks that pull away moisture from the feet. Some runners wear single-layers or double-layers of socks. Some runners don’t even wear socks. Figure out what makes your runner’s feet the happiest before committing to any single method.

2. Consider foot lubricants

Trislide and other foot lubricants really can help ease the parts of the foot that are really just not happy about the idea for running this long. Under the achilles, on the toes, on top of ankle, anywhere that really bothers you, slather lubricants on to make running a little more comfortable for the feet.

3. Dry feet after showering, swimming, sweating, etc.

Letting any moisture sit on the feet can irritate already sensitive spots. Also, drying the feet helps avoid building up any of nasty bacterial growth on nails and on the skin. Take the time to really towel down between the toes and the entire surface of the foot anytime they get wet.

4. Foot Massages

Runners really give their feet a hard time- why not give the feet a much deserved treat? If it isn’t possible to get someone else to massage your feet, it is easy enough to do yourself. It is even probably a better idea to do it yourself if there are blisters and other sore spots that a person may not know to avoid.

5. Right shoes for cycling and running

Telling runners or triathletes to invest in good shoes probably seems a bit redundant. We already know about your serious running shoe addiction, but just in case you needed the reminder… Make sure to have shoes with good support arches. Replace running shoes as soon as the midsole starts to break down. This may mean spending a little less on the absolute best shoes, so that you can afford to regularly replace your shoes.

Don’t Quit! 10 Inspirational Quotes to Keep You Going When Training

It can be so tempting to quit. Not just for swimmers, triathletes and other athletes, but for everyone. The difference between success and failure often can be just the willpower to continue. When you feel like you’ve given it all, and you are considering giving it up, take a look at these quotes before you consider quitting. Here are 10 inspirational quotes to keep you going when training.

“If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!” – Michael Jordan

“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.” – Anonymous

“Commitment is what makes us better people. It’s what makes the world a better place.” – Diana Nyad (first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage)

“It’s always too early to quit.”- Norman Vincent Peale

“The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.”- Morgan Freeman

“We will all fail in life, but nobody has to be a failure. Failing at a thing doesn’t make you a failure. You are only a failure when you quit trying.” – Joyce Meyer

“Effort only fully releases its rewards when a person refuses to quit.”- Anonymous

“Don’t quit! Every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise.” – Anonymous

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Elliot

“You don’t get stronger on the days when everything comes easily to you.” – Nastia Liukin

Tackling Negativity with AMANZI Athletes

AMANZI Girl Georgia DaviesThe biggest enemy most of us will ever face is ourselves. Negative self talk serves as a barrier that prevents many individuals from ever achieving their maximum potential. It is the job of us athletes to tame the real mean person that lives inside of our head, so we can focus on being the best person we can be.

Recently we interviewed all of our top AMANZI athletes, and we asked them how they deal with negativity. The following were some of our favorite answers that we thought would benefit swimmers and non-swimmers alike!  You can read how these professionals deal with mental negativity below. For bonus material, you can follow the link on their names to see the rest of the interview to really get to know what makes these Amanzi athletes tick!

What’s your best advice for dealing with mental negativity? How do you get out of your own head?

  1. A quote that my coach told me, something along the lines of “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re probably right” – always believe in yourself and your ability. Georgia Davies (Swimmer)
  1. Don’t think about the past in a bad way think of it as something you can improve on, as you can always better what you do if you keep going at it and doing the right things. Ellie Faulkner (Swimmer)
  1. “I use a method created by Dr Steve Peters (psychiatrist to British Cycling & Team Sky) in his book ‘The Chimp Paradox’. Basically, anything negative that comes into your head is classified as a ‘threat’ or getting ‘hijacked by your chimp’. I will go through my ‘threats’ with my coach before each race and counter them. For example, perhaps a threat for me would be, ‘what if I don’t have my run legs when I jump off the bike?’ This would be countered with, ‘that is just silly, you have been running really well in training/doing lots of brick sessions, there is no reason why this would happen.’ So each and every threat gets countered and you can go into the race knowing that you’ve dealt with all those little voices.” Gillian Sanders (Triathlete)
  1. “Control the controllable and focus on the processes rather than the outcome. Such as telling yourself to keep a high elbow and strong catch in the swim rather than just thinking ‘swim faster, swim faster’.” Tamsyn Moana-Veale (Triathlete)
  1. “The self-doubts and anxieties are hard to beat sometimes in competitive sport, especially if you are in a bad mindset. Firstly think to yourself, why do I do this sport? Why do I train hard every day? Your answer should be because you love it, not just to please someone, but because you enjoy it. I used to battle with this because I forgot about what I wanted, simply trying to please others and forgetting how much I love surf myself! If you enjoy your sport, your next step is to begin building your positive self-talk. Everything begins in the head, and if you can think it you can do it! Rather than being down on yourself after a race, think of what you can do better for next time. So enjoy your sport, think positive, and smile! The doubt you feel will be gone before you know it.” Brittany Jessup (Surf Lifesaver)
  1. “Don’t over think and just focus on what you need to do.” Holly Grice (Triathlete)

6 Tips on getting chlorine out your swimsuit

How to get chlorine out of your swimsuit

Chlorine is a nasty chemical that you may have noticed damages a swimmer’s hair, skin and swimsuit. To avoid the worst affects of chlorine on swimwear, it is imperative to properly maintain swimwear with basic upkeep. The following tips will not only help you get chlorine out of your swimsuit, but it will also help make your swimsuit last longer:

1. Chlorine Resistant Swimwear
First off, one of the best ways to ensure your swimwear isn’t ruined by chlorine is to invest in chlorine resistant swimwear. All AMANZI swimsuits are made from AMANZI Armor Chlorine Resistant Fabric that helps keep the chlorine from absorbing into your swimwear in the first place. Read more about AMANZI Armor here or click on the image below:

AMANZI Armor

2. Rinse Swimsuit Before Swimming
As a rule, we should always rinse off before entering any pool. An added bonus to this is that rinsing a swimsuit before swimming reduces the amount of chlorine it absorbs as it has already absorbed clean water.

3. Rinse Swimwear After Every Use
When swimwear sits after it has been in the pool, the chlorine will stay in that the fabric and will continue to eat away at it. To avoid this problem just rinse your swimwear with cold tap water after every use.

4. Do Not Ring Out Swimsuits
Ringing out your swimwear does speed up the drying process, but it also breaks down the structure and fabric of the swimwear. Just allow your swimwear to air dry by hanging it up or laying it out flat.

5. Hand Wash Swimsuits
To avoid the fabric of your swimwear from breaking down, the recommended way to wash a swimsuit is by hand washing it. After you machine wash swimwear on a regular cycle the compromised fabric is more likely to absorb chlorine. Most washing machines have a hand wash cycle, but I recommend going the old school way of manually hand washing the swimwear yourself.

Hand washing swimwear is actually pretty easy. Just fill a sink with cold water then mix in some suit saver / tog wash. Let your swimsuit soak in this mixture for around 20 minutes. Once it has soaked massage the swimwear gently to get the chlorine and dirt out. Drain the sink. Next run the swimwear under cold water until the water runs clear.

6. Alternate Swimsuits
Alternating two or three swimsuits gives the swimsuits a chance to dry out and return to its original shape. Swimwear lasts a lot longer if we aren’t constantly keeping it wet and saturated with chlorine by using it every day. Besides, who minds having a couple different cuts and styles of swimwear for the sake of fashion?

Travel Nightmares disguised as Travel Tips and Tricks

Photo by Sean McEntee / CC BY

Photo by Sean McEntee / CC BY

Monthly Report by Tamsyn Moana-Veale

Travel Tips and Tricks
(For the inexperienced, from the slightly less, almost-but-not-quite hopelessly inexperienced.)

OK, so Travel “Nightmares” may be a slight exaggeration, but “Kinda Annoying Travel Moments” didn’t quite have the same ring to it. I’m sure all of you have had times when traveling, be it flying, driving, boating or train-ing, that firmly stick out in your mind as;

“Wow, that sucked. I hate this, I hate that and I certainly hate you; person blocking the only damn exit outta here. Seriously?! ‘excuse me, Sir, Please, I have to get through. Hello? Sir, excuse me. Sir? ….ah, MOVE.”

So, let I, a well-known Stress-Head, let you in on a few things I’ve learnt from my travels abroad. Please note, I haven’t had anything seriously go wrong so if you’re really in trouble when traveling and you resort to this as a guide, then wow, ain’t nothing going to help you now…

1. Keep Calm, be polite, patient and do things in steps;

  • What’s my next best option? E.g. Should I wait for the next train coming in 5hrs or pay an arm and a leg for a taxi to get me there in 20min?
  • Where are my bags? Preferably not in a different country. Has happened, will happen again.
  • What have I arranged that I need to change? E.g Transfers. Four phone calls to China and three emails in 10 minutes to the same person is a guaranteed way to make friends! Also, pronouncing someone’s name incorrectly multiple times is a good way to get disconnected. It, ah, happened to friend…
  • How long do I have to wait and if it’s overnight, where’s the nearest place I can sleep properly? Plastic airport seats? Um, no.
  • Where’s the food at? I’m hungry, and tired and grumpy and hungry. Feed me.

2. Recovery is key
Keep hydrated, find somewhere to lie down, get wifi and sit your butt down. Running around like a headless chicken in compression socks, helmet flinging wildly from a backpack and dragging around a bag with wheels that doesn’t roll properly just looks stupid, and is only amusing for everyone else. Again, it ah, happened to a friend…

3. Pack essentials with you.
Toothbrush (or go buy an overpriced plastic gum stabber), spare clothes, essential training kit; shoes, goggles, cap, race suit and watch, wallet, phone, phone charger and hair straightener.

Tamsyn Moana- Veale
4. And if all else fails…
Look distraught and panicked. Works best for young females but your average male could probably make himself look pathetic enough. Umm… yeah, so this last one is terrible advice. Has been known to leave you alone, at midnight, on a bus in the back lots of Charles de Gaulle airport trying to figure out, that if it came down to it, how effective a bike shoe would be as a weapon (conclusion: probably messy and unreliable). And it goes without saying, that happened to that, um .. friend…

So that’s my travel tips for you! Would love to hear other people’s stories, even if it’s about the time you used a perfume sample at an airport after a travel ‘nightmare’, dropped the lid under a display stand and then tried to casually (and beautifully smelling) stroll away.

Brought to you from Hong Kong International Airport terminal after a misread flight table,
unplanned overnight stay and the lingering smell of a now, missing- presumed broken- lidless
perfume.

Tamsyn xx

How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries

How to prevent shoulder injuriesOne of the most common issues swimmers experience involve the shoulders. If you’ve been swimming for a while, the chances are you’ve probably heard of someone who has experienced a shoulder injury, or you may have even experienced a shoulder injury yourself. During the opening day of London Olympics, FINA released a video entitled “Prevention of Shoulder Injuries in Aquatics Sports” to raise awareness of shoulder injuries in swimming.

The goal of the video is to show swimmers various exercises that can help prevent debilitating shoulder issues. By choosing the Olympics as a medium, FINA really wanted to get this message out to a global audience to raise awareness.

The video explains the basic anatomy of the shoulder to show swimmers where the most common injuries in the sport of swimming occur. Then FINA video goes on to show detailed visuals of dry land exercises that can help swimmers avoid these injuries all together. Some of these exercises require extra equipment, but some you can just do with a ball, water bottle or no equipment at all. Just taking a little time doing the dry land shoulder exercises really can go a long way to help avoid injury, but they can also improve your strength and flexibility to improve your stroke.

The video was compiled by top experts that included physicians, trainers, physical therapist and coaches, and you know FINA wouldn’t do a second rate job at anything they do. If you are swimmer or new to swimming, this video can help you build strength and flexibility in your shoulders. In the long-run you can maintain the health of your shoulders, because there is nothing like a shoulder injury to really put a damper on your athletic or fitness swimming goals.