2017 – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

So that is another 1 year – 365 days – 52 weeks – 8,760 hours – 525,600 minutes – 31,536,000 seconds – ticked off. When you write it like that it seems incredible that its now just gone and we are driven to think about what have we done to fill it, what have we achieved and what are we proud of? Then there is the pressure to “know” how we will best use the next 31.5 million seconds as of 00:01 tomorrow.

As I am sitting drinking my last coffee of 2017 (might be able to squeeze another one in being me – guilty!), listening to “Under Pressure” followed by “She’s a Maniac” (both very fitting!), I guess it is etiquette to reflect on the last 365 days. But being me, I am of course going to do it in my own little way. 2016 saw me write a poem, so to ensure 2017 is also given an Eloise twist I am calling this blog “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” I will provide three examples of each and how this will be built on, improved and/or addressed in 2018 – and of course photo moments where applicable!

The Good

  • PROFESSIONAL Licence: After the events of 2016 this was always my goal for 2017. Ok, like I mentioned in a previous blog, it wasn’t quite how I knew and believed I could obtain it but if anything I am proud I could bounce back (well climb back more realistic) and achieve my dream.20171011_102231.jpg
    2018: Live the dream and remember what it means to have it.
  • HAUTE ROUTE: What an amazing three days in Southern France with a great team: The Cycle Studio! This event, despite being a bit of last minute “fun” proved to me that I can race hard and well by using my intuition to “feel it” and just be myself – competitive, fun loving and ambitious. Not sure when I lost this feeling but the Haute Route marked its return.
    2018: Race in this way – just be myself!
  • RUNNING: Yup that’s it! Just great to be finishing the year feeling the most “runnery” I have felt since my Cross-Country and Track days. Thanks to Jon Davis and the Boss, we are finally cracking the Eloise body puzzle and moving forward – wow wow wow!
    2018: Keep loving every run and being cautious to keep building up slowly – why rush now… exactly, no point!

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The Bad

  • FATIGUE: After a hard block in the Alps I was wiped out emotionally, physically and mentally which led to illness and niggles that caused my Coach and I to make the call to finish the season early.
    2018: Following big races and/or goals take appropriate rest both mentally and physically to ensure I am fully recharged and ready to push on.20170628_144806.jpg
  • FEAR: Following the year of injury, pain and disappointments in 2016, I started 2017 in fear that one my body would just keep breaking and two what if I could not do this, aka follow my dream of being a top Triathlete. Every “odd” sensation in my body sent me into a frenzy of panic, worry and doubts about the next day let alone the next week or race. But thanks to everyone around me being patient, reassuring me and letting me just keep putting one step in front of the other (literally) I rebuilt the mentality not “what if I can’t” to “what if I can”.
    2018: is the year of “what if I can…” anything is possible!
  • LOCKING MYSELF OUT OF THE HOUSE at 7am in -3C: Yup it is true, in my world anything is possible and the quote “if you can dream it, you can do it” in all ways is the story of my life. So yes, on my first day of dog/house sitting I locked myself out of the house which led to explaining to the neighbours that no I was trying to break into the house or that I was homeless, as I wore some classy trackies, a beanie and a hoodie.
    2018: maybe spend a little less time in the trackie, hat combo!

The Ugly           

  • HEAT: from two races it is evident its not pretty when I race in anything above 25C – see exhibit A!IMG-20170502-WA0001.jpg
    2018: Heat camps before races will become essential, 2018 = year of the fry and bake Eloise!
  • St.MORITZ: what goes on camp stays on camp, but I will let you into a little insight into the day we did a brick session and I went “kamikaze” on myself at altitude just because I wasn’t winning and wanted to “see if I could” – now that was dumb…
    2018: Pick your fights, or at least try to! You’ll have him next time – Good luck Steffan!
  • COFFEE: just add coffee or you will be in for a shock, and yes ask my housemate and/or cat what I am like pre my 6am coffee…!
    2018: Keep drinking coffee… AND what?!

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From the highs to the lows, from the tears to the laughs, this year would not have been the same without the amazing people I am lucky enough to have in my life and to my sponsors and support network that make this crazy dream real. Thank you – without you it really would not be possible.

A special thanks to Dave, Renee, John, Ben, Pete and Jon.D – you have all gone out of your way this year to keep me sane, happy and strong. I am so grateful for everything you have done, now and always.

So that’s a wrap – I am excited for 2018 as I know already it will be full of new opportunities, adventures and most importantly fun, see you on the other side, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Make sure to live every minute in 2018 and make those seconds count.

Lots of Love,

Elo xxx

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Haute Route Ventoux 2017

Three days, 270km and over 7500m of ascent… AND what?
And… “Eloise what have you done… you are an idiot… once again you have shot yourself in the foot… Arrr Eloise… why Eloise?!”
Well in short, along with a few slightly stronger words I will avoid mentioning, those where my thoughts as I stood on the start line alongside Paul and Mat on day one of the Haute Route Ventoux. OK, I will not lie that was pretty much how each morning started – but as the days went on the words certainly became stronger, only natural!

20171006_083638.jpgDay 1 – Apart from the general jibber jabber going on in my head, yes nothing changes, whilst huddling like lycra-ed penguins we were told that due to hazardous winds (130-150kph) at the top of Ventoux we would only be able to climb to 1412m not 1909m, finishing at Chalet Reynard making stage one “only” 100km and a delightful 2200m of climbing – because that makes all the difference, might as well not start… *insert eye-roll emoji!

“Trois, Deux, Un – ALLER ALLER” we were off and starting our cycling campaign up and around the iconic Mont Ventoux – what could go wrong… Well as the extent of my bike racing can be confined to two time-trials, one I ended up on the operating table and the other being in a torrential storm, I wouldn’t say I was the most experienced when it came to tactics and ‘jostling.’ But how hard can it be – surely its just like a XC running start!? Which to be honest wasn’t far from the truth, see a gap – close it, see an opening – fill it etc. But of course, in typical Eloise “what are you doing” style, before the first Col I soon had to reconsider the best approach for this event – this was no 3 lap jaunt around a golf course!

At about kilometre 23 I found myself right at the front of the lead group, holding wheels and just loving life. However, it was at this point a small group attacked and broke away. WOWOWOW I could not be having that… so I went for it, head down out of the saddle GO… But what an idiot! In my sheer excitement and competitive madness I had miscalculated or just failed to notice (typical) that one they were definitely cyclist types and two they were all guys! So evidently about one kilometre down the line I blew up – big time. Most of the chase pack came back past me and my legs turned to lead… *insert at least four eye-roll emojis!

This was horrendous timing as before long we were at the bottom of the first Col and my heart rate already through the roof. YOU ARE AN IDIOT – I TOLD YOU TO PACE THIS THING! Yup I got told and was ready to get off and pack it in there and then… how could I survive another 75km and three big climbs, just today?
It was from then on I scraped plan XC runner to plan triathlete – i.e. pace the hell out of it, try not to be an idiot and be patient till ‘you know when’ (the fact that “I never know when” is beyond the point – aka get stuck in and enjoy!). So that was that.

20171011_102231.jpgIt was halfway through stage one I met Séverine, an alpine skier/wonder woman from Switzerland. Think the shared interest of being the two girls pulling all the guys along, “no that three second stint on the front mate DOES NOT COUNT”, in our group meant we hit it off from the start and decided to take matters into our own hands. After the second climb it was a matter of a 10km descent/traverse before the final climb from Sault to Chalet Reynard – 21km. Due to the winds being considerably strong we worked together to take the load and pick off who we could. And it worked! One of the best moments was when our two-(wo)man band trooped past some Frenchman (insert French accent) “errrr girls you know there are at least 15 kilometres to go…” “ERRR YES AND..?!” – He was never to be seen again… *insert eye-roll emoji!

Thanks to the great chats and motivation we arrived at Chalet Reynard having been joined by Paul for the last few kilometres #goteam. Despite being full of excitement we all agreed not going to the top wasn’t such a bad thing, save it for tomorrow… I was so pleased and over the moon to one have survived but also to finish in 7th.

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Day 2 – much of the same… but longer! Stage two = 141km and over 3300m of climbing, finishing with a brutal 21km climb up Ventoux from Malaucène. Little side note – if (and this is a massive IF) you ever want to do this ‘notorious’ Ventoux summit I do not, by no means, recommend doing it after 120km on the rivet – it can only end one way…

Surprisingly, after the first 10km my legs woke up and were far more complaint with my lifestyle choices than the day before. I am sure kindly helped by the fact I was not employing idiot techniques, but respecting the distance and the climbs to come – yup she’s learning!

At 90km a small group made up of Séverine, her husband Nicolas (ex Pro cyclist machine!), a few other guys and myself reached the summit of the last Col and began the 30km ‘commute’ to the base of Ventoux. This is where Nicolas was a saint – he took the front and helped us save our little legs for the last 21km bonanza up, up, up! For the entirety of these 30km butterflies were building in my stomach as I generally had no clue how I would cope in those last 21km… but no time to ponder as thanks to Nicolas we arrived at the base ready to climb… well after the quick and essential Coke stop!

IMG-20171010-WA0006.jpgFor the first 16km Séverine and I climbed together and kept each other just about sane… well I apologise Séverine for losing the plot at one point trying to explain how we need to be patient:
‘We have a phrase in the UK “Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey”… which I guess in French translates to… “Lentement lentement pour attraper le singe” –  OK yup should have kept with the English! (*eye-roll emoji needed!) But wise words if you ask me – how else would we have survived the 3km 12% section in the middle of this 21km climb – exactly, thank me later!

Somehow, after what seemed like an eternity I arrived at the final bend legs and body battered – I had made it, I was going to finish – the relief. Ventoux summit tick!
But WOW – what a day! One of the hardest yet most amazing days I’ve had in sport to date which was made even more amazing that I held on to 7th place overall.

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Day 3 – aka ITT up the mountain day!
Once again due to the hazardous winds this stage had to be shorted to finish at Chalet Reynard 1412m. All this meant was despite the stage now “only” being 15km and 1200m of climbing, it was going to be harder as everyone could push that bit more *insert eye-roll emoji!

9.45 I was off – ouch… the first 5km were more of a gradual climb (as climbs go!) but it didn’t make it any easier on the already pretty tired and battered legs. After that it was around 10% for 10km to the end – great! But luckily a SiS Cola caffeine gel later the next 7km seemed manageable, just had to stick in my ‘catchey monkey’ rhythm – yup those Eloise words of wisdom were back! However, during the last 3km the wind started to kick in and the legs started to remember the last few days. These kilometres felt like stages in themselves, I was so thankful to see Johann with 1500m to go and to be given a little motivation to keep hanging on and digging in. The last kilometre, despite Johann’s cheerleading support, I resembled more of a three legged, overweight, asthmatic donkey than a cyclist/triathlete. But with a few howls and whimpers later I had crossed the line and took refuge on the road – 110% gone!20171008_105839.jpg

So that was that – we were done and I was so pleased to finish in 6th.
Regardless of the shorter stages on days 1 and 3, it was an incredible experience; from trying something completely new to seeing what my body was capable of. It really was made even better thanks to the awesome Cycle Studio crew – Mat, Paul and Johann, that made it a long weekend yes full of pain, but more importantly full of laughs, eggs & soldier/pizza evenings and of course memorable domestiquing skills… *insert my final eye-roll emoji!  And of course meeting both Séverine and Nicolas – two amazing, inspirational athletes and I cannot wait to catch up soon in the Valais!


This really would not have been possible without the support of the Cycle Studio that generously let me borrow a road bike and set of race wheels just four weeks ago, not to mention their loyal and impeccable support throughout the last 18 months – thank you team.

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Also I cannot thank Science in Sport enough for their support or I may not have finished. Without the rocket fuel/life saver two products; the Caffeine Cola gel and Rego+ recovery shake, I may not have finished day one let alone recover between each stage to give 100% again and then again. Here is a link to how I prepared and fuelled the event using SiS products – thank you guys.

Finally a massive thanks to the rest of my team – most notably Pete from Kenilworth Chiropractic Clinic for keeping the body going, Renee for all those wise words and nutrition essentials, Dave for letting me ‘have fun’ off plan plus the rest of this year and Ben for his constant S&C support and brainstorming. Go team – now for a little regroup, rest up and then let the 2018 games begin…

Lots of love and cycle safe,

Elo xxx

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Pro-cessing it all…

It has taken a while for me to sit down and write this blog as it took me some time to process everything that has happened over the last few years and where I have finally arrived – plus it is me so I needed my thinking time!

However, I thought no better time to sit down and get typing then today as I find myself sofa bound this morning trying to keep my eyes open due to a sudden onset of “atopic dermatitis” (AKA I have a very attractive swollen face and skin rash!) so please apologise if there are any typos or even more lack of sense that usual, but here goes…

All my life I had dreamed of being a professional athlete as I used to run around the garden till I quite literally passed out – a relief for my parents, the easiest self-inflicted child calmer. At a young age I had a clear obsession with sport which found me glued to the Olympics every four years and cutting out pictures of my favourite athletes – yes I was one cool kid! As the years progressed so did the sports. At the age of ten I was so cross to not be able to jump any higher in high jump with the “scissor technique” I decided to teach myself the Fosbury Flop over google print outs as no one else knew how to do it at my primary school! Where was youtube then, it would have saved a broken shoulder as “bright spark” me thought no better way to perfect the motion pre-season than onto grass. Yes of course ironically this meant I was out for the whole of the summer high jump season – shooting myself in the foot for being stubborn, over committed and bloody-minded about my goals wasn’t going to be a one time thing it soon became clear… but hey I did get a few HJ records!

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The first day I played lacrosse something clicked and this new game just excited me – what I can run wild around a field with my friends, be myself and be competitive; incredible! I would always turn up to practise eager to learn, have fun and get stuck in – sometimes too stuck as I found myself once again head first in the mud as I had 100% miscalculated an interception, YOLO!
I still remember the day my lacrosse coach, still one of my biggest inspirations, sat me and a few others down in the pavilion changing rooms and gave us the chance to trial for the England junior squad. The idea I was going to be able to prove myself against the best in the country inspired me further, let alone the thought I may be able to make the national squad – eek!

However, despite making the squad and then a few years later making the first few cuts for the Junior World Cup team the reality was that the continual drive for perfection and excellence in sport had once again shot me in the foot. Struggling with anorexia not only meant I missed the first round of trials, how that wasn’t a big enough motive to sort my **** out still amazes me, but also led to missing valuable playing time, match practise and selections which ultimately meant I was not good enough and probably never would be. I have written about my past before and how losing my dream to such a destructive illness emotionally hurt whilst created a world of what-ifs, regrets and self-hatred – and its true, when I decided to hang up my stick early on in my gap-year despite finally being mentally recovered from anorexia I cried for weeks about what I had done to my dream and the little girl who just loved to play and see what was possible.

So what is with the reminiscing and divergence Eloise?
Well, like I have also said before finding out about triathlon in a London office full of tax accountants (obvious right!) and then relishing under this new challenge, I just felt lucky that I could once again enjoy a sport, set some (un)realistic Eloise type goals and just press play. From early on it felt as if I had been given a second chance at living my life to the full again – free, happy and just being me (i.e. yes competitive, stubborn, mad etc. but a tad more controlled!), something I will always be grateful for and thankful to the people who helped me get back on track and smiling.

Wow – the first few years of triathlon were a dream, I couldn’t believe what I achieved barely being able to swim, being Bambi on a bike and then just praying I could run at the end of it. But like most dreams you wake up and boy did I. For the next two years reality checks from my past, current and future soon came hard and fast – often too hard. This pain (literal and mental) became my reality once again and despite still knowing what I wanted and could achieve I was wasn’t getting closer, in fact I was getting further away the more I tried to hold on to it – yup common theme!

Still reminiscing Eloise… yawn!?
Well, all of the above chat (if you stayed with me!) is why I have taken so long to process the last six months and understand/come to grips with the final result that I have recently been granted my Professional licence as a middle-distance triathlete.

20170629_115647Just reading the email made me burst into tears and then had to check the attachment about 100 times to make sure it had my name written on the ‘Pro Letter’ – and to my sheer surprise every time it did read Eloise du Luart.

It was bitter sweet to be honest, as like I said to my Coach in my mind I did not achieve it how I believed I would. In Luxembourg despite the swim and bike being bang on point my run wasn’t even close to where I am at, whether heat induced or not, which left me disappointed, deflated and wondering if once again I had just missed out. This meant despite the relief, excitement and sense of pride of receiving the one thing that drove me daily to claw myself back more than once over the last 20 months, I needed time to process the result, feel I am worthy and ready to race alongside the best in the World.

I am even emotional writing this blog (not just the weeping eyes!) as yes I have finally come to grips with it and I am excited to start this new chapter in my athletic career. I am ready to get stuck in and see what is possible, just like that girl who picked up her lacrosse stick and played for the love of the game.

My first Professional Ironman 70.3 will be Dublin on 20th August, followed by Weymouth on 17th September – so better put my head back down and get on with the day job!

All I can say is a massive thank you to everyone who has been a part of this ‘journey’ – sure I kept you all guessing and head scratching, however I am grateful to each one of you as you helped me rekindle the dream – so now lets just live everyday of it.

“Even Alice had to fall before she found her Wonderland”

Lots of love and always keep smiling,

Elo xxx

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Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg

Since I raced Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg in 2015 I have wanted to return; however unfortunately it wasn’t that simple – life right!? 2016 was not meant to be due to a sacral fracture – so I just saw the event come and go, like too many races last year. But at the start of 2017 I told my Coach I wanted to be ready to race my first 70.3 in over 20 months back in Luxembourg. This was all very much still words at the time as I had barely started running and cycling again after another series of injuries, but it was a goal and I was going to give everything to try and make it happen and be proud of arriving on the start line in one piece…20170618_090903

Before I knew it I was giving Mum and Coach Dave a massive hug before scuttling off with Amy (so glad you came and raced with me) to find our places in this rolling start, swim business. In the sea of neoprene I gave another massive hug to Amy and then continued wading through to find myself a convenient spot about ten rows back.

It wasn’t long before the lines of four were being set off in five second intervals, then I was waiting at the front just looking down the ramp into the Moselle. Those five seconds felt so long – felt I could had a cup of tea in that time! But enough of that it was GO and we were off…

As I scampered to the ramp I realised I was going to have to dive/plop in. “You got this Eloise, simples – arms over head and go.” Well would have been “simples” if I hadn’t bottled it and lifted my head too early so my goggles started filling with water – smooth one Elo! After a solid 100m of “SWIM, GIRL SWIM!” I realised I really could not see anything and still had a considerable distance to swim so made the executive decision to sort the goggle situation.20170618_091724 “Arrr a whole new world” – I was back on route and flapping away. To my surprise within a few more 100 metres I started going past quite a few people – this doesn’t happen to my very non fish self, but I wasn’t going to object so just kept pushing. Swerving round the last buoy I knew it was about 400 metres to go so I pushed on.

Wetsuit down, pick up bag (hop over flower bed as obviously slightly in the wrong place), unpack bag, strip wetsuit off, helmet and number on, wetsuit in bag and GO FIND YOUR BIKE ELOISE! That was it – I was off running down the carpet to grab my wheels (always useful) and ready to get “on meh bike.”

The first 12 miles of the bike felt great and smooth along the Moselle river to the turn around point, just loving life and pedalling away. However, after the turn to return back down the river to the first climb, it became anything but enjoyable.
Suddenly I was overtaken by a pack of drafting cyclists, forcing me to drop back 12 metres. Yes, I tried passing them legally numerous times, but most attempts failed or where short lived as this “peloton” was working together making the effort too much for me to pass/hold, only forcing me to drop back out of the draft zone and cycle below race intensity.20170618_0942320.jpg
Even though it is ILLEGAL and WRONG I have seen drafting in races and would be naïve to believe it doesn’t happen. However, I have never seen it on this scale and the openness. I was truly shocked that even when the “draft busters” came by they did nothing but just wave at the 20 or so cyclists.
Sorry to dampen the mood but I try to pride myself on LEGAL and FAIR racing, drafting is not only cheating but also ruins it for others around trying to race fairly and strongly. So these few miles were anything but enjoyable, hugely frustrating and I just longed to arrive at first the climb to sort this out – good luck drafting up that guys!

So as I turned onto the climb that was it – I channelled my frustration and slight anger to start picking off those cyclists, got back to riding at the race intensity I wanted to and put it/them behind me (literally) once and for all #YOLO.

The next few miles felt great, stunning rolling scenery and loving life again both frustration and “congestion” free. So much so that before I knew it bikey and I were coming over the last hill, gracing France with our presence and hitting the river road for the last eight miles. These miles seemed to pass (as they do!) and before I knew it I was unplugging my bike legs and ready to locate my running ones…

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Helmet off, shoes on and gels grabbed (yes dropped and picked up again – never lose food!) it was time to hit the now very toasty run course and bring it home. Easier said than done – despite being in the strongest run form I have been in for over two years… even if that isn’t too hard!

From the first few kilometres my legs felt heavy and life less however hard I tried pushing or downing gels – well hello very asthmatic and waddling penguin-esque thing! Every lap I had to focus on just getting to the next feed station, grab all the water I could and shuffle on to the next. Both my Coach and Mum were great at keeping me going and making me focus on each lap as they came, even if they were not coming fast! However somehow, not sure how, I was picking up my last cup of water just two kilometres from the finish line and heading for home – miracle. The last few kilometres I gave everything; tried to increase the pace a bit and just focused on numbing out all the pain and heat. Not sure why I went for this pro+ kamikaze plan but I think I wanted to finish knowing that despite this run not being near my goal race pace, least I knew on that day I had given 100% and controlled everything I could have – so I did… pretty dumb to be honest but oh well – life!IMG_1497800324571

But WOW I had finished a 70.3 again, was 2nd overall coming out of T2 (yes historically my weaker 2/3s of the race) and despite the run/lack of I was 14th overall and 2nd in my Age Group. Given the journey back to Luxembourg I cannot be anything but pleased, emotional and ready to relocate those ex-runner legs, sort out my thermostat (tips welcome!) and get back out there fighting. It was even more special to share this race and the pre/post celebrations with my great friend Amy.

All I can say is a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me become stronger both mentally and physically – to Coach Dave for not only kicking me round the run on Sunday but also for everyday giving me confidence that I can be stronger, faster and better despite the hurdles and Eloise moments…! To my amazing Mum for coming with me to Luxembourg, putting up with the emotional pre and post race tears and always making me smile whatever happens – love Mum.
To Renee, Ben and all for always believing in me and kept me fighting – thank you so much.

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Lastly a massive thank you to my sponsors; Kenilworth Chiropractic Clinic for MOTing the body, The Cycle Studio for always ensuring my machine flies, Science in Sport for keeping me fuelled and fighting, Take3 for ensuring I’m “aero as”, HUUB for the wetsuit that has helped me become more fish like and also to BLIZ for keeping the eyes happy – thanks so much.

And for now… well I am not sure yet but will focus on recovering properly from Sunday, regroup and build back to my next start line still smiling and ready to give everything #thedream.

“Never, ever give up and SMILE”

Lots of love,

Elo xxx

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St.Neots Triathlon (1500m/45k/10k)

After the slight mishaps of the previous weekend at the Volcano Triathlon both Dave (Coach) and I agreed I needed some more practise to correct my fuelling mistakes and confirm that training is in fact on track before pushing on. Thankfully NiceTri allowed me a late entry into the St.Neots Standard Triathlon to set the date for this “re-run” in seven days time… Simples!

20170507_141831Well, we should have known better – Eloise doesn’t by default mean simple! Since the Volcano’s “infamous waddle” I had still been suffering from the stitch in my right side and chest tightness. Most of the week we kept the intensity very low to reduce stress to my diaphragm (delicate flower!) whilst prioritising deep massage, Chiro appointments and mobility work to promote recovery and relaxation throughout the body. By Saturday I was able to complete some intensity in the pool and on the track to fire up the old bod ready to race the next day. However we still were not entirely sure if it had gone, so the race plan was just go out, nail the controllables (nutrition) and just see how it goes…

From the first toe into the river I remembered why I like racing abroad, 13 degrees is anything but enticing. By just looking around at everyones’ facial expressions it confirmed we were all thinking the same – **** its cold!

BOOM – we were off… splash, splash, gasp, splash, think “cold, cold, cold!” Somehow despite my spluttering I had arrived at the first buoy in third with the two lead girls just in front. Right time to get into a rhythm and get this freezathon done!  By the time I had completed the first lap I had caught up some of the green hatters from the wave before, so back to playing dodgems and keeping it together… which surprisingly for me I did!
For the remainder of the swim I was in third with the lead girls still in sight and entered into T2 about a minute down. 20170507_141721

Amazingly T1 went pretty smoothly and I overtook one girl just through stripping faster – good skill to have! But then had to negotiate the flying mount… nice work Eloise nailed it in one… Damn why can’t I get my feet in, get in, you shouldn’t have got cocky, get in damn it! It seems that trying to locate your feet let alone get them into a bike shoe while handling a moving vehicle with numb hands is not so simple! Finally by the first roundabout I was plugged in and trying to power up for the two lap, 45k ride. And yes before you ask, thanks to my new, very stylish bento box all gels were still firmly stored and ready for action – phew! Within a few 100 metres I had taken the lead and had my head down focusing on the task in hand – pedal, pedal etc. etc (even I can’t mess that plan up!).

IMG_20170508_055128_853Despite feeling in control and passing quite a few men I couldn’t help but notice this strong, cold wind blasting in my face – did someone turn on the air con? To be honest I didn’t really notice when we had the tailwind; if we did, as it just felt like I was cycling through mud 95% of the time despite the power being higher than last week – remind me never to take up cross! I just hoped this wasn’t just me and my lazy legs so plan “just keep pushing” had to be employed, whilst (yes of course) executing the nutrition plan – you got this!

After the second whirl wind (literally) of a lap I found myself leaping off my bike and on the hunt for my racking spot in T2 – look for the fourth red flag, boom thats us, via left, throw bike on, helmet off, glasses on, shoes on, grab gel and GO GO GO!

As I was running, yes running, not waddling, miracle I know, on to the first lap of four I gave a little smile and thumbs up to my Mum – right now to finish this off. The laps were pretty open and wiggled through the park so you could see quite a bit of the action. I know I don’t have the best eye sight, no hawk, but I couldn’t see any girls around – oh well, just keep running and stay relaxed.
With one lap down Mum shouted to me that I had around eight minutes on second place – right Eloise stay strong and don’t be an idiot – yes I do need constant reminders.
The second and third lap went pretty much the same, I just ran.

Turning on to the last lap I knew I still had at least eight minutes on second place however I just stayed focused as nothing is over till its over, especially if the wheezing, asthmatic, overweight penguin episode of last week were to make a comeback. Thankfully I must have left him sunbathing in Lanzarote as before I knew it I was running the last 200 metres, just smiling and happy to have finished strong -amazing what an anti-penguin run can do, ten minutes faster over the same distance – I will never pack him again, well try not to! IMG-20170507-WA0013

I was really pleased to take the win by over nine minutes – such an amazing event, thank you NiceTri and great racing by everyone in anything but easy or nice conditions, I just hope you have all warmed up again. Now to get back to work – a week defrosting in Mallorca should help, then to double this thing… hmmm about that…

So the moral of the story: stay fuelled and hang on to those gels. You would think me of all people would have known that by now as when has under fuelling ever got me anything…?!!!

As always a massive thank you to my Coach for helping me return to racing mentally and physically stronger, Ben (S&C) for de-pretzeling me after last weekend and Renee (Dietician) for not letting me live it down that “yes nutrition does help!”

Finally, thank you Bex at Kenilworth Chiropractic Clinic for stepping in this week to sort the Lanzarote battered body out, The Cycle Studio for making my racing machine fast again, Science in Sport for, of course, those gels #rocketfuel, and to the rest of my sponsors that make this all possible everyday – thank you all.

Lots of love

Elo xxx

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We are THRĒO

I first came across the brand THRĒO after a heated discussion with a friend about the lack of high quality and well fitting triathlon apparel for women. We can all admit most of the suits out there have seams in the wrong places, ill fitting to our figures and don’t even get me started on where the white is! This look is anything but flattering let alone when you have finished a race…

IMG_20170405_185338_559So when I came across THRĒO on social media it was not only a revelation seeing their kit had been designed specifically for women but also refreshing to see how they promote their passion for women in sport. THRĒO was set up due to the same frustrations by two athletes Rhian and Laura, there was just nothing out there that was one high quality and two flattering.

As you can imagine my first reaction was that I needed to try this kit and see for myself. Thankfully I was luckily enough to get my hands on some cycling kit to try – “Richmond Park” shorts and jersey.
After the first ride it was noticeable this kit was high performance and would see me through quite a good few miles. The team at THRĒO have thought of everything from earphone holes to a zip pocket in the jersey and shorts – what more does a woman want?! Even after a few washes the kit looks brand new, still comfy and every logo is exactly where it should be – thank goodness.

But enough of my chat, I thought the best way to find out about this brand and spread the word was to hear from the girls themselves…

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves and how THRĒO came about?
Rhian: Both Laura and I have a long background in sport, with over 30 years between us – spanning everything from racing 800m & 1500m on the track, cross country, triathlons, ironman, marathons and open water swimming.
We met through a mutual friend and both had the same frustration with kit and sportswear brands, we felt they didn’t cater for women like us – who loved training and racing, but didn’t want to compromise on style of kit. We also needed high quality kit which would last the distance, ironman, and regular washing for our daily sessions. We didn’t think this was out there, so we set out to make it. We went from sketching the kit, to visiting factories in Italy, to designing our now second collection! Our kit solves the problems we had with existing kit, and we’re now proud to train in it.

2. What personally motivates you to get out of bed every morning?20170425_180632
R: The thought that I just want to go out and have a good day – after all, every day has potential to be a great one. Now I have a baby girl, I want to make her proud and feel inspired to find something she loves as much as I have after a lifetime in sport. 

Laura: That I want to go out and be the best I can that day, whether I am at work, training or working on THREO. I always just want to get out there and give it a shot.

3. What philosophy does THRĒO aim to promote for women in sport?
That endurance sport is for everyone. We want to encourage women into triathlon, and sport in general, by making kit they feel comfortable and strong in. The triathlon and endurance communities are incredibly friendly, where the emphasis is on getting involved and not solely on winning – that’s the message that we would love to get out there.
Anyone can take on one of these challenges, you don’t have to be special, elite or talented, you just have to be willing to try. We are also hugely passionate about promoting equality for women in sport and we feel proud to be involved in triathlon, especially in Great Britain where some of its greatest and most well known athletes are women. 

4. Your favourite piece of THRĒO kit?
R: The ‘Eton Dorney’ trisuit. We wanted to make something flattering and stylish but that you could also race hard in, as I didn’t feel there was anything in the market like that. For me, its the perfect bit of racing kit and I can’t wait to get out in it this season. Plus its named after the place where I did my first triathlon and in a location where I trained often as a junior runner for Windsor, Slough & Eton – so it has many happy memories. 

L: As a keen marathoner the ‘Battersea Park’ running shorts are my favourite. I love the flashes of colour and how comfortable they are – they have seen me though many long runs. Battersea Park is also where I spent a lot of time when I was last training for London Marathon! 

5. And finally, what is your future vision for THRĒO?
We want to be the go to brand for female endurance sport. We would love to expand into other sports which are traditionally male dominated, and shake things up a bit.
We want to be known as a brand that supports and encourages women, but which also makes high quality long lasting kit. 

www.threo.co.uk

“Looking good and dressing well is a necessity, having a purpose in life is not” – Oscar Wilde

Lots of love 

Elo xxx

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Volcano Triathlon (1500m/40k/10k)

Well I guess 2017 has officially started!

Before I knew it I had squeezed back into my HUUB wetsuit, paddled around a bit and was lined up ready to GO. After a roller coast of a few years, here I was bobbing away under the Lanzarote sun with lagoon dirt across my face – glamorous!swim start

We were off. Splash, splash, splash, BREATHE! This “well established” swim routine got me to the first buoy in a frenzy of bubbles and neoprene. At this point I realised I was amongst some strong girls so I just focused on getting into a rhythm and hanging on. However slight glitch, I was on the outside – wasting precious seconds… “idiot how did you forget you were on the continent so of course they drive on the wrong side of the road!” 

So I just had to focus on getting to the next buoy then employing my very “(un)famous” body roll to get back on the inside. Well this plan was nearly foiled when this “roll” landed me on some poor, orange hatted bloke who had started in the wave before. Nice one Eloise, you not only squashed him – sorry, but also, quite deservingly I may add, got a breaststroke kick in the goggles – ouch, but a win is a win – I got my line!
From then onwards it was a case of push on and play orange hat dodgems as I splashed my way through the men trying to locate the last few buoys before hitting dry land.

Wow – I had made it! Beach yourself, stand up, and strip time… when I looked at the clock by the swim exit, I nearly stopped right there and then – it read just under 27 minutes… “seriously Eloise you have supposedly improved your swim not gone backwards by about 3-4mins”… but luckily my brain ticked (thanks to David and Jim shouting at me that I was in 10th) – minus 5mins as that includes the men… Boom back in the game and an improvement – never swam a sub-22mins for 1500m and 10th in a strong, swimmery field – new sport maybe?!… well not quite!!!

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Credit: Bob Foy

Focus girl and find that Belgium flag – my bike was conveniently opposite this flag, win. I am sure you can all agree finding a bike in a sea of wheels and handlebars isn’t something I would call straightforward! As I was getting all the T1 admin ticked off – helmet, number blah blah blah, I couldn’t help thinking I was already baking when apparently I had just done the “cool” part… oh well #GBBO!
After a famous Eloise flying mount, i.e. a slight swerve and maybe a few strong words by myself, I was on the road pushing those pedals up the first hill. This is when I looked down to see I was missing a gel. Oh god, this may not be ideal as I had already forgotten my pre-swim gel and in the heat I would probably be burning through carbs much faster – well thats half already out the door… crack on!

Up the hill, down the hill, turn around, up the hill, down the hill. Before I knew it I was turning on to my second lap and pushing back up the hill. By this point I had passed a few girls and some men so was hoping I was cycling in a strong place so focused on keeping it together and closing more gaps.
Half way through the second lap I started getting stitch down my right-side. Very bizarre as I have never experienced this on the bike before. This has only ever happened when dim, Eloise-esque me has gone for a hard run too close to a ten course meal! I couldn’t help thinking that it better go before the run or there would be no way I could get my emergency, T2 gel down me and then run any sort of run. Well, I still had a hill and descent to negotiate so time to just focus on that.

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Living emoji!!!  Credit @CrapTri

I arrived in T2 in 6th. Now, head down and finish the job. Haha – easier said than done! As I was running on to the course the stitch came back with a vengeance – bugger! I tried to find a rhythm, couldn’t. I tried downing the gel I needed, couldn’t. I tried breathing, couldn’t. This wasn’t going to be pretty but better just try and work on the tan instead.

Oh god – I looked down at my watch and saw what can only be described as hideous – I was running close to my long, recovery run pace. I just remember thinking well lets hope I can at least maintain this as already every man and his dog was overtaking me. This mentally wasn’t easy either, as one I knew I was in reasonable run shape and two, in the past I used to hold my own on the run – not waddle along like an overweight, asthmatic, sunburnt penguin.

Thanks to my step-dad David, Jimmy and the amazing Whittle Fit cheer leaders, I somehow found myself trotting onto the second lap, stitch and pain still intact but getting it done!
Lap 2 is when the lack of fuel really caught up on me – talk about hitting me while I am down! Then the girls behind me also started catching and overtaking me, inevitable. With each one I tried to jump in behind and match their stride – well the intention was there but lasted at most two steps… aux!

Somehow, to my sheer amazement I found myself running, sorry – damn autocorrect, shuffling, into the stadium to run the last 300m. This is when I thought I should try one last change of pace one. Ok it didn’t last long but think I just about hit my goal race pace for the last 100m… winner winner chicken dinner #athlete!!!
Done – hot and very bothered. Somehow I ended up holding on to 13th in a strong field and winning my age-group – amazing racing by everyone in anything but easy conditions!20170429_213805

Ok, yes I was disappointed as I knew I am in much better run shape and cross with myself for making school-girl-errors on the nutritional front, but lessons learnt and shows practise makes perfect and we all can agree I am out of practise!
However, with some perspective (taking out my stubbornness, pride and competitiveness!) I am of course happy and so grateful to be back out there as WOW I have finished a race and still laughing at myself, which hasn’t always been the case over the last few years.

Finally, I also said it in my last blog but I mean it – thank you to everyone; Coach Dave et al., sponsors plus family & friends, who support and guide me everyday whilst keeping me smiling.
And of course a special mention to the great crew who not only cheered me round that run/whatever it was on Saturday but also made it a great week at TriSports Lanzarote – steppy Lord Dave, Jimmy and the Whittle Fit/Crap Tri crew – BOOM, it was worth that pizza and jaeger!

Just keep smiling and bring on practise numero 2 – Sunday…

Lots of love,

Elo xxx

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