Barry Island Triathlon – 750m / 20km / 5km (+1!)

3rdJune 2018

The Barry Island Triathlon had been on my race calendar since December, and yup it was the first race I had booked and confirmed for 2018 – oh yes I choose my races wisely! One of the main reasons I chose this race was to ensure, regardless of my goals and aims in the sport, I remember to always “keep the fun” in triathlon so I never lose sight of why I started – for the love of the sport and competition. I knew a great group of friends would be racing and supporting, so nothing better than a mid-season sprint and a weekend in Barrybados to rock the FUN…Barrybados

After a FAB afternoon catching up with the WhittleFit and CrapTri peeps, then eating all the carbs (aka too much garlic bread and chocolate!) with Emma, we all soon found ourselves lined up on the ramp down to the beach ready to go at 7.05 on Sunday morning.

BOOM – we were off! 250 of us started hurtling down the beach towards the sea. This good 200m sprint to the water was not the easiest due to the limited movement thanks to the nenoprened up joints, loose sand underfoot and bad eyesight due to the combination of not so great Eloise eyes and old foggy goggles – note to self; buy a new pair for the rest of the season! Anyways most importantly we were off and before I knew it paddling like a possessed penguin towards the first buoy. In true Eloise style, the first 100m or so of swimming was nothing extraordinary, aka lack of sprint! However, once everyone else had calmed down I started making my way towards the front of the field – note to self; still need to practice my sprint starts.

Sand runsAnyways the slow burner tactic seemed to pay off again as I exited the water in joint second overall and ready to sprint back across the beach and up the cliff to locate my bike – talk about leg day!

Wetsuit off, number on, helmet on, bike AND GO!
Time to get pedalling and chase the boys. Well this was quickly halted as I got caught at the first red light on course – oh well may as well take a drink and check my shoes are on properly – then go go go again! This time we were definitely off and negotiating the turns and climbs of Barrybados before taking off towards the Cardiff airport (see what I did there!). At the turn around point I was still in third overall with the lead boys not too far away so thought I better just enjoy the ride home and open up the gap to second female. But what really made the returning leg the most fun was seeing the awesome “Mallorca Ladies” bossing it and all of us sending cheers as we saw each other – that’s what I call a team spirit and real racing.

Right time for T2.
Oh wait no, we have another climb to do – was not expecting that, oh well needs are musts I guess and good course planning Si, no rest for the wicked – note to self; always confirm the number of climbs on course!
Right now definitely time for T2, even though I will admit in my excitement of seeing everyone cheering I nearly completely forgot to undo my shoes and dismount – but well done Eloise saved it – just! Bike racked, helmet off, shoes, sunglasses, head band and run Girl, RUN!

Exiting T2 I knew I was still in third overall and had a few minutes on second female so I just wanted to really enjoy the run and “keep the fun” throughout. About a kilometre in Marc from Team Cranc came past me so I focused on keeping his Team Cranc colours in sight and just try not mess anything up (easier said than done!).

Support

All about the team support // Photo cred: Tim Parfitt

Finishing the first lap before looping back to the finish, the support was amazing, you couldn’t not smile. That’s when the commentator shouted “see you in 5 minutes at the finish Eloise!” Well it should have been five minutes but of course when there is me, there is a twist – this time an extra kilometre round the cliff to the next bay kind of twist! Long story short, both Marc and I were sent in the wrong direction, when we should have gone up, we were told to head down until we both hit a dead end and realised this was definitely not the course and time to head back round and up the hill! And Coach you were worried I wouldn’t get my middle distance training in… where there is a will there is way #toldya

I can remember thinking as I was FINALLY (not 5 at least 9 minutes later) heading back down the hill towards the finish was “Oh well done Eloise – you knew it was up, why did you go down, you’ve lost it after your little detour, just typical Eloise, typical!”
But to my amazement as I was running down the finishing shoot the commentator shouted here is our first female… WHAT WOW – seriously?!

PODIUM

Photo cred: Team Cranc

And it was true, despite taking the scenic route I still ended being first female. This win was the icing on the cake after a hard week where I could barely get out of bed to train let alone race, then to share it with great friends who were also racing and supporting was just awesome – you guys all rock and bring on the next one together – Emma bring on the Finnish Fun!

A massive thanks to Si at All for Nothing Events, all the generous sponsors who donated the awesome goodies & prizes (Speedo, FRAMED, CEP and more!) and to all the volunteers who helped make it such a memorable event, I will certainly be back racing in Barry soon! Also a massive well done to everyone who raced and to all the supporters – this race really showed what Triathlon is all about and seeing everyone be the best they could be on Sunday, regardless of their starting place or goals, was truly inspiring.

Lastly, I want to comment on Sunday’s events – not only was it a day of fun and inspirational performances but also a day of tragic sadness and loss. My heart and thoughts are with the family and friends of the competitor who lost his life and to everyone who was affected. My friend Harri could not have put it better; “[Sunday] was a true show of humanity, the tragic death of a participant balanced by the incredible strength and determination of the lady that finished having already lost 13st in weight.”

On that note I leave you with this thought – never take anything for granted and remember to always keep the fun.

Lots of love,

Elo xxx

P.S. As it was the official “Fun Train” outing, here are a few quotes from the awesome and inspiring “Mallorca Ladies:”

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Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?!

In this day and age, you cannot escape what you “should” be doing, whether you are a top performance athlete or not. From the “perfect” diet, body and smile posted across Instagram, to the “superhuman” training plans clogging up Twitter feeds – it is everywhere. These posts and articles portray this epic “summit” we should all be reaching for, if not have already attained, yet why is this peak so far from everyday life and why is there no obvious path to reach it in “real” life? It is because there is no “perfect” life or summit – yup it just doesn’t exist beyond that Instagram filter.

However still, this unattainable, unrealistic, non-existent “summit”, causes us to question whether we are good enough, how these people live the “perfect” life and how we can be more like them. This is ludicrous, but the sad reality and why it is no wonder that a recent US-based study, identified a “strong and significant association between social media use and depression.”

As someone who has trekked (a 25-year hike!) across the personal acceptance spectrum and also understanding/living the harsh reality of trying to climb the “perfect” mountain, I feel very strongly about the topic of letting go of what one “should” be doing in exchange for what you, only you, need – yes NO one else. So, through experience and example, I am going to try and cover how the irony of chasing that “perfect” creates anything but what it promised in training, diet and happiness.

Training
As an aspiring professional athlete performance is the ultimate goal and, not surprisingly for me this is no different. Just like thirteen years ago when I picked up my lacrosse stick, I still want to be the best athlete I can be, and boy do I know what I want to achieve! There is nothing wrong with this and being competitive and a perfectionist is part of who I am – YOLO. However, unlike thirteen years ago, I now know how to rationalise, control and use these characteristics as a strength because I have the information, emotional resilience and support network to do so – plus a damn lot of hindsight (always helps)!

And Eloise… Point?!
Well, it wasn’t long ago that I thought and saw/heard everywhere that to be a top athlete you “should” be smashing out massive training weeks, week in week out, no excuses.

But this is just not the case! I used to worry that I wasn’t doing what the “other girls” were, or that “they” posted a 25-30 hours training week and I could barely put together 20. This is because I was led to believe that this is what I needed to be able to improve, and the only way closer to my ambitious goals.

Yes, this may work for some, but it does not work for all and there also has to be the “right time” to do such training. All of which was wrong for me and currently still is. OK, it should have been obvious when I kept getting injured and that I still was not fully healthy, however why should I have known what was right at the time, I was no expert or no “performance” coach, just a girl who wanted to race.

So why the change?
This has been a long process over the last two years however the eureka moment was after cycling the Haute Route last October. I entered and rode this event only for fun, an Eloise type challenge, however ended up doing far better than I could have ever expected. This made me realise what I needed to focus on again, embrace and be proud of, me and only me! If my way is different and it works, why should I care? Why should I feel embarrassed when someone comments on my “low” 13 hour training week or belittles me because of it? And if I love training and racing why can’t I just “have fun” and see? Competitive sport has always been what I love and find fun, so why now “take it all SOOO seriously?” I know me better than any coach, person or “expert” so it’s about time I tapped into it and worked with it – and believe it or not it has been far more fun and successful since I got the Eloise factor back than chasing a specific number of watts for a specific number of minutes! #unicornmeup

Diet
Just a quick look on social media and the “healthy” and “right” way to eat, whether and athlete or not, is to eat “clean.” That’s right you should say NO to sugar, gluten, carbs, dairy and anything else that tastes good, if you are ever going to achieve “performance” or anything for that matter.

OMG YAWN!
And yes there is a reason; healthy, right, and performance, are in inverted commas – its because this information is misleading and misinformed – and in the theme of the blog ironic.

I admit, I believed this. I thought and practised these restrictive, unrealistic and unhealthy habits of the “perfect” diet and the chase for “race weight” in the pursuit of what it promised. Five stress fractures, five months in a mental hospital and a question whether I could ever race again, later I should have just taken advice from Joe Blogs in the local corner shop as promises = 100%, reality = negative %.
Renee McGregor helped me challenge these beliefs around “diet”, helped me understand that health is the predecessor to performance and the importance of personal acceptance to in achieving goals. Now, following Renee’s nutritional guidance, dietician to Olympians, I eat what I want when I want it – whether its chips and cake or quinoa and avocado, it is just balanced and “normal!” Furthermore, believe it or not (WOW you read it here first) my recovery rate is far faster now without an acai berry in sight and I’m the strongest in training I’ve ever been but not thanks to the maca powder and lack of sugar. Who would have thought it, ironic hey!?

OK, yes this is an extreme example and yes not everyone will develop disordered eating or an eating disorder, but it’s the principle. No food is intrinsically bad for you (unless you are CLINCIALLY – yes real Doctor not just google, diagnosed) and therefore no one food should be demonised. Just like one food, whether it be chips or quinoa, should not be eaten to excess – it is balance. To eat a piece of cake or drink a glass of wine because you generally want one doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t negatively affect your training – it’s called life, live a bit and enjoy the balance. It is far more worrying if you can’t listen to your body, have and need to count calories or can only “indulge” if you can justify it, as like Renee mentioned in her latest book, Orthorexia; “The body is an amazing machine… Typically, when it’s been deprived of something… it will crave it, indulge in it and use it to replenish stores,” so listen to it, feed it and enjoy it.  

Happiness
Why waste another minute?
This is one of my mottos. After losing years of living my life to anorexia and having to accept the regret of not recovering or getting my full health back sooner, I never want to put myself in this position again.

A fulfilled life should include health, success and happiness. Not just one but all three – and from experience and actually done my research this time (aka talking to the real people who know) only two of the three or one of the three is not sustainable and creates anything but a successful life worth remembering.

You may be thinking – but how will I ever be a top athlete without sacrifice Eloise?
Personally, I now don’t believe there is such thing as sacrifice as this implies something has come at a cost. Success (whatever it may be) when you are unhealthy, have no one to share it with or a few years down the line you look back and see yourself as truly unhappy or mentally f***ed up, is not real success. That is pain and not a life worth living whatever podium shots you may have.

Call me idealist or call me mad (won’t be the first!) but when I stand on that podium, whether it be this year or in three, I want to know my memories to that point and after that point include no regret, no worry about the calories or carbs in that cereal bar and no pain to myself or others I love, so I have the group of people around me I want to celebrate with – sounds like a far more fun after party than a protein shake and a 9pm curfew!

———————-

SMILESSo isn’t it ironic… Society says, shows and boasts about the need to be a certain figure, eat a certain diet and smash out certain training to achieve performance, health and happiness. Yet ironically this did not happen for me until I finally followed the complete opposite.

Try to remember one “perfect, sunny, pretty picture” is just that – a millisecond snap in time, not a life. There is no right way or reason to compare, as that photo and/or comment is just a moment with no context or story – therefore by definition, it is meaningless. Focus on yourself and what you need, not the needs and pressures from others. Following or worrying about what someone else is doing is like signing up for an accountancy course when you want to be a vet – just dumb, not to mention a waste of time, energy and money!

Thank you to those who helped me achieve this, accept this and therefore meant I could enjoy everything again – I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT!

Lots of love and NB to keep the fun,

Elo xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volcano Triathlon 2018

Last year’s “Volcanoed Elo Effect” – the not so scientific definition of me overheating, ruined two of my races, one of which was the Volcano Triathlon. So at the end of 2017 I made a promise to myself that this would not be the reason I waddle like an aging, asthmatic, overweight penguin again – and I was going to prove it, AKA get a better race photo (if you have seen “it” you know what I mean!). So of course this meant that I needed to go back and face my Volcano Triathlon heat demons in 2018…

Sauna

Exhibit A

But of course, there lay one obvious problem. To overcome the dreaded “Volcanoed Elo Effect” I was going to have to do some heat training, and for the very stereotypical Brit that I am (anything over 15C is WOW HOT), this was not music to my ears. But I committed and so for three weeks I immersed myself into sauna life, layering up and turning the blow heaters on. Barring the panic attack in my first “long” (17 minutes!) sauna session and my still sheer amazement how “other” people don’t sweat, blink, snuffle, move or have to run out of a sauna hyperventilating – I slowly started adapting and “enjoying” the challenge of the heat torture – see exhibit A!

Enough of this jibber-jabber let’s cut to the chase…
“Cinco segundos… VAMOS!”
– We were off! Well I say we, most of the field were off, I seemed to miss the memo of the sprint start and just seemed to swim off leisurely – what race?! NB: work on my sprint starts!
“Right, get a move on and start catching them” –  So I just put my head down and started focusing on catching the sea of pink hats in front of me. And surprisingly the slow burner/no burner approach, seemed to work as I started ticking off the pinks and many of the oranges (Men’s wave ahead). So much so, I exited the water in 8th not too far behind the “swimmers.” Job done, but yes Eloise we still need to work on that swim start sprint!

Swim - Volcano 2018

Photo credit: Bob Foy

“Right come on Eloise, get on that bike and find those legs – please!!!”
OK T1 wasn’t quite as elegant as the duathlon a few weeks ago, but all was a go and got on the bike – job done. And yes, before you ask – unlike last year, all SiS gels and nutrition were still intact (she’s learning!).

“Don’t go mad, just get it done, and please stay cool!”
From the first climb I knew my legs were at least 70% there as I was actually moving forward (always a plus!), had already moved into 5th, and was able to settle into a comfortable rhythm.

“Right totally got this – just stay comfortable… She says!”
Early on I decided to not take any risks on the bike and sit at an effort I knew I could sustain for an Olympic… Why I hear you cry – Eloise stop slacking?!
Well one, I didn’t want to overheat as that would cost me more on the run than 1, 2 or 3 minutes on the bike, but also as a first race of the season and a confidence boost after last year, I needed to just put a strong race together; nothing stupid, nothing crazy, and enjoy it! Having said “nothing stupid”, the Eloise factor soon came back into play… spoke too soon…

Bike - Volcano 2018 2

Photo credit: James Mitchell

Just before the first turn around point I saw the lead girls were closer than I had expected. Great, the plan was working! Well, until coming out of the turn I seemed to just fail to finish my U… “Oh look a cone”…“It’s sort of in front of me”… “I think I’m going to hit it!’
And I did – straight into it – me and my bike toppled over sideways – one job Eloise, one job (please insert hand hitting face and eye roll emoji!!!). But if you ask me, think I picked a good spot as I landed 90% on the timing mat, quite comfy actually, so the only “damage” was a grazed knee, somehow a graze to my forehead (pretty special!) and of course pride – but YOLO!

After peeling myself off the mat, a frantic grab for my rogue bottles and checking the bike was still happy, it was time to just Ride ON! But hey, nothing like a mid race lie down!
Luckily, the rest of the ride was a tad less dramatic; made up a bit more time and even got a loud cheer when I successfully nailed the same turn for the second time – oh yeah, she’s got it!

T2 – “Right Eloise – RUN… Well please try to…”
Helmet off, trainers on, sunglasses on, headband grab & GO!

WOW, I had some legs and did not feel like I had just walked into an oven with a duvet wrapped around me whilst in full ski gear – incredible! However, there was no time to thank the Sauna Gods just yet, as I still had a pretty windy, quite hot, 10k to negotiate and not mess up…

For the first lap I just focused on staying in a rhythm and enjoying the course. The pace felt OK and yup I was still cool – win in itself.Run volc
On the second lap I knew I was still about a 90 seconds down on 5thand was starting to feel it a bit – think its allowed and about time?! So it was a case of try and stay with the male athletes around me and finish the job with a smile. Which with some relief and a bit of pain up the last small hill, I did!

I was pleased to finish 6th, less than two minutes behind Ironman Champions and to have the third fastest bike split despite my little mid race nap. I can’t wait to race again and maybe play more of a Kamakaze style race card to see what may/may not happen… but let’s not run before we can walk Eloise and first focus on not hitting any more cones!!!
A massive well done to everyone out there, especially Alice for nailing her hat-trick, and of course thanks to all for support on course from the athlete to athlete whoops to awesome cheer leading from Jim and Lucy as I ran (not waddled!) past – really appreciated it and made the race.

As always thanks to my Coach Dave, Renee and friends & family that constantly help me be the best person I can be, and of course to my sponsors and support network who make it all possible. I know I am so lucky to have you all in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful – bring on the rest of the season together. Ride On!

Good Luck to everyone starting their seasons and see you out there!

Lots of love,

Elo xxx

Awards - Volcano 2018

Photo credit: James Mitchell

Hereford Duathlon

Yes I admit it has been a while since I last wrote a blog, so firstly welcome back to both you and me! But hey I thought there was no better way to restart the typing than a quick update and an infamous Elo race report, lucky you… Here we go… But does she still have it is the question…?!

What have you been up to Eloise?BLOG 1
Not much really! Since the beginning of the year everything has just been bumbling along. Dave (AKA the Boss) and I have just focused on ticking off the days, weeks and months without too much fuss, nothing crazy or excessive, just being consistent and most importantly enjoying it. Yes, this does mean I have not been smashing out high volume weeks whilst taking frequent rest days (got to love a lie down!). Furthermore, I have not kept to the ‘perfect’ diet or given up any ‘bad’ foods as we all know where that got me (awkward!), but needless to say this ‘not so perfect’ approach has meant I am stronger, fitter and healthier than I have ever been (ironic to say the least – but I’ll save that topic for another blog!). So as an update all is well in the little world of Eloise and so this led us to test the waters (or lack of as it was a Duathlon) with a hit out in Hereford…

Oh how great – LA-DI-DA, YAWN! So yes please, let’s hear about race day…
After a quick race briefing, lucky Duathlon rules haven’t changed too much since 2014 (phew), it was time to line up on the start line and get this racing malarkey back on the road…

BOOM we were off, quick lap of the track then it was out to do a little loop round Hereford’s finest pavements and footpaths.

“Right Eloise, you’ve got this, just hold it together”
“Eloise we have only done 0.5 miles so how do you know we’ve got this?! What a tit!”
“True – but whatever just stay with that guy in white!”

Insightful as ever, but I did seem to stick to “that guy in white” all the way to T2 – thanks Nick for the pacing and lead out!

Shoes off, glasses off, helmet on and time to Ride On! But of course we all know that before any triathlete/duathlete can just “Ride On” they have to conquer the flying mount, well if they are brave/stupid enough to commit – especially after 6 months of ZERO practice. Oh here we go Eloise (eye roll emoji!). But before I knew it I was plugged in and pedaling on, haters gonna hate, the transition taper obviously worked a treat!

For the first few miles I was just focusing on getting into a rhythm and working out which part of my body was hurting the most – “how did I forget how much harder this Duathlon malarkey is than Triathlon… Ouch my quads! Ooo those hamstrings! What – now my calves?!”
Oh well, I was committed so it was time to just “get over it” and put my head down. At this point Nick came back past me, even better something to focus on – bring on the chase.

Well all was chasing on, until my visor started fogging up. We all know I hardly have hawk eye vision, let alone with a fogging visor, on a bike and riding at speed. After hitting the pothole “I just couldn’t see” – I took the Eloise executive decision that the visor just had to go! Well nice one Eloise just in front of the camera man – that will be a keeper – YOLO!
Now it wouldn’t even matter if Nick was just up the road or not, as I couldn’t see a few metres ahead as my eyes started watering and getting the odd fly hit – glamorous as ever Eloise. But luckily the last 6 miles were on a very smooth, fast road so I could concentrate more on going forward than practicing my giant slalom thanks to the potholes of Hereford.

BLOG 2

So I have to run AGAIN?…

Right T2 time… Once again the transition hiatus paid off and nailed the “run off the bike” technique! Then WOW the reality of my whopping two brick sessions this year – one of which was the day before the race, hit me… ignorance is bliss right?!

Luckily despite feeling more like a crippled kangaroo on ice than a “highly trained athlete,” the pace seemed OK, so I just had to keep bounding on for the remaining two miles. The feeling of running down the finishing shoot, despite now being an asthmatic, crippled kangaroo covered in mud, was amazing – so much support and just a great to be back out there, challenging myself again. This was made even sweeter finding out I had not only won the woman’s race but also came third overall – great racing guys, you kept me honest (AKA hurting!).

So yes, this may have only been a little win but for me it was a big mental win. I am so grateful to not only be back on a start line, but also to be confident in my body again so I can push a little harder and just see… who knows right?!

This feeling of excitement and to just have the chance to challenge myself again would not have been possible without the amazing support of the team around me – thank you all:

  • Dave, you have been amazing, thank you for listening to me and trusting in me as an athlete and person – I really do appreciate everything you have done for me and continually do.
  • Renee, you know what you have done for me health wise, but you also helped me believe in myself again, even when I am swimming against the current AKA being me!
  • To both Pete (Kenilworth Chiropractic Clinic) and Jon (Shires Physio) for continually taking on the the challenge that is my body and never giving up on it. We will solve the Eloise conundrum, one step at a time… well let’s not speak to soon!
  • And to all the other sponsors I am lucky to have backing me, it really would not be possible without you all and hope 2018 will be the year I can continually do you all proud.

On that note, over and out from me – phew I hear you cry!

Lots of love and keep smiling,

Elo xxx

BLOG 3

“Life is too important to be taken seriously!”

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!

Lax

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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