UmYazan's Blog

Archive for January 2014

Transition after a 1km swim, 30km bike.

In my Betty Designs kit after the 1km swim and 30km bike ride.

So as many of you know I’ve been training for Abu Dhabi International Triathlon The ADIT is celebrating its 5th anniversary with winners from the past 5 years participating. It’s the iconic event in the triathlon calendar making it a ‘just-do once’ in any triathlete’s calendar, an accessible event, the short-course competition is the ideal entry point into the sport for those who have never competed in a triathlon before. The short distance I’ve been training for is a 1.5km swim, 100km bike, 10km run.

And in my training I would say the toughest part, hands down, is the swim.

So I’ve been reading about swimming, had a few private lessons from swim instructors. Have been listening to my coach, Sylvie from NRG Performance Training and had one very productive swim session by NRG Performance Training Head Coach Nigel Gray. And while my swim has improved significantly, I was still struggling with trying to complete 50 meters without losing my breath, struggling and resorting to breast strokes for 50% of the distance.

So on Friday (day before yesterday) just after an 86km bike ride and short run off the bike, I was getting ready for a 1.9km swim. I was feeling just a bit tired but I thought to myself, you can do this Wajeeha. You KNOW you can. So I consciously decided that I would go slow. Usually I just jump in like superman and try to finish my drills while at the same time trying to focus on technique. This time was different. So I went slow.

Nigel told me to try and take a breath at every stroke. I was trying before but I never could figure it out. But when I went slow, it finally worked. A breath at every stroke. And a full exhale under water. I swam one length breathing on one side and return length breathing on the other side. And I went slow. And something just clicked! My roll improved, my catch finally caught on and it felt almost robotic! And I swam 1.9km continuous. No breast stroke. Wasn’t out of breath. Didn’t suffer an asthma attack and I finished in good time! I couldn’t believe it! To quote my friend when I told him what I did.. He said ‘Congratulations. You broke the first barrier’. And I did!

Great sense of achievement and excitement. The following day, I was participating in the GMC Tri-Series in Doha. Three quarter Olympic distance of 1km sime, 30km bike and 8km run. And I did the same thing. I went slow in the swim. I swam it all freestyle, without stopping and in a time I was very happy with… Finished fourth overall! I’m really excited and looking forward to Abu Dhabi International Triathlon. With a bit of focus, advice from your coaches (that you should TAKE), you can accomplish anything you set out to do…

First Place, Women's Long Distance, Category B

First Place, Women’s Long Distance, Category B

So I’m super excited! So much has happened in the past week it’s unbelievable… but I guess the biggest achievement for me this week is placing FIRST in the women’s b category long distance ride! 80km ride at Lusail Circuit, organized by the local Qatar Chain Reaction cycling club. My charity cycling team, the Qatar Sandstormers were out riding as a team. My teammate, Caroline also placed first in her category, Women’s Masters. It felt great to ride as a team and benefit from taking turns leading… drafting really helps in group races as the riders in the peloton benefit from less wind resistance and can conserve energy.

I wanted to ride the 80km as I prepare for Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT) coming up on March 15. I have never competed in a triathlon, and if you have been following my blogs, you know I got into it by coincidence. Actually, it was my charity cycling team captain, Marouf T. Mahmoud, that encouraged me to try… and so the challenge began!

The beauty about the GCC is that events like ADIT are easily accessible. And training for these events is also easy as facilities are readily available as well as access to loads of information from friends, coaches and other athletes you meet on your way. But you have to be dedicated to your training program and take your nutrition really seriously. I train with NRG Performance Training out of Canada. In just two months, I’ve seen my cycling improve, my running really pick up and my swim dramatically improve. If you can’t get someone to coach you, just make sure your exercise regimen consists of recovery periods, i.e. time off from your training so that your body recovers… flushing your legs on the bike after the bike, running shorter times and at an easing pace to flush your legs, and time off to just REST and SLEEP.

Hamidallah I have been lucky. I’ve been sponsored by Betty Designs, had my training supported and now on my way to competing in Abu Dhabi…

So it’s 2014 already and part of my new year resolution as well as my commitment to Betty Designs for sponsoring me this year, was to blog more often… So as the first week of January 2014 comes to a close, it’s time I blogged and started living up to my commitments!

So much has happened since January 1st it’s crazy… first of all, I can’t believe my improvement in training… My running has improved in the last 2 months thanks to NRG Performance Training and my coach Sylvie My swim technique is much better, but I still have a lot to improve and my cycling has really come a long way since I started riding in May. Top it all off, got to meet Nigel Gray Head Coach at NRG here in Doha and he’s giving me a special coaching session to improve my swim (technique and open water)! So I’m looking forward to that session…

2013 was an epic year… I have to admit… none of this would have been possible without my charity cycling team, the Qatar Sandstormers Inspired by their work, I joined the team in May and by October was sponsored by Betty Designs, registered for my first triathlon in Abu Dhabi AND got sponsored for my training with NRG… I’d say that’s a pretty epic year… wouldn’t you?

I really have to say that training and wanting to compete is equal parts determination, motivation and will power. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my team and the inspiring Betty’s I’ve met since becoming a Butterfly and Brand Betty Ambassador… Having a group of people surrounding you, inspiring you and WANTING to see you achieve your dreams keeps me going. I also have to give kudos to my best friend and gal Dana Dinnawi, a lifestyle coach who has been my confidant and energy booster throughout a very challenging 2013.


My second sprint triathlon in my Betty Designs tri-kit, pictured with my charity cycling team, the Qatar Sandstormers from L to R: Mike Molyneux, Caroline van Aartrijk, me, Marouf T. Mahmoud (team captain), Ibrahim El-Senousy


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