Ironman Sweden 2012 – The Longest Day

Posted by Paul on September 5, 2012 with 0 Comments

6:50am on 18th August: standing in the calm, brackish water of the Baltic Sea, I cannot quite believe that this day has finally arrived and I am about to take on my second Ironman race.

A year of training, a year of dreaming about this moment, a year of worrying if it will all come together and if my hard work will pay off, a year of boring my husband and all my friends with ‘Ironman’ talk, and a year of thinking about swimming, cycling, running, nutrition, physio, massage, stretching, recovery days, and not much else! Here I am.

The sun is rising, casting orange stripes across the early morning sky in South East Sweden, and I am standing next to my friend Ben, knee deep in the cold water, ready for the start gun. We are nervous but so excited, and the atmosphere is electric, with hundreds of people lining up on the breakwater to watch us start our longest day.

… The gun goes off, and I am swimming with 1500 other athletes, all trying to find their space, as we head out to the first yellow buoy. I am aware of not using too much energy too soon, so I take it easy and manage to stay on the outside of the group.

Under the water, a smile breaks across my face, as I think to myself ‘This is it, I’m here, I am swimming in Ironman Sweden, and this is going to be a great day!


The feeling at this stage is similar to getting on a plane after preparing for a trip, thinking ‘there is nothing more I can do now to prepare, and you sigh deeply and just live in the moment’.

The swim goes well, apart from turning at a couple of buoys, when I get caught up in the melee of swimmers, and get elbowed in the ribs, punched in the face, and swam over by a swimmer behind me, but I fight my way out of it by kicking my legs hard, and carry on, trying to keep my distance from the main group. This slows me down, and I exit the water a few minutes slower then I hoped, but I am still out of transition and onto my bike by my planned time so I don’t worry too much.

.. Relieved to be out on my bike, I set off at a good pace (for me) , and head over the 6km long Oland Bridge to the island of Oland where the first bike loop covers 104km.

The route is flat and fast, and passes through small typical Swedish villages with locals shouting and cheering as hundreds of us fly through on our bikes. Some of the corners are on cobbles, so I take it really easy around those!

I am feeling good, and loving every minute. One of the things I love most about triathlon is the exaggerated feeling of being ‘in the moment’. Something, in our modern world, I believe we are beginning to lose a sense of, as we rush, rush, rush, and forget to stop and smell the roses. Even when the going gets tough I try to relish the ‘now’ feeling, and remind myself that one day this will be a memory so enjoy whatever the race throws at me!

As I cross the Oland Bridge in the other direction, making my way to the second lap on the mainland, I start to feel the headwinds I will face on this side, and the familiar feeling of slight leg fatigue. 76 km to go. The support as we pass through the host town of Kalmar is amazing. I hear my name from the crowds, and turn to see my husband Tom, and the group of friends who have come to support Ben and I in our quest for Ironman! Their support and shouting gives me a huge lift, and I head north on the course feeling great, taking note that I am ahead of my planned schedule. ‘If I can just keep a good pace going, and not burn out, then I can finish in under 13 hrs’ I think to myself. This is my plan.

My last Ironman I finished in 14:10, and I hope to take an hour off that time in the race today, so I get my head down, and pedal into the wind which seems to be coming toward me, whichever way I turn. By 150 km, I am feeling quite tired. I have been following my nutrition plan, taking on gels, sweets, energy drinks, and banana malt loaf, at regular intervals but I can now feel myself slowing down. My neck and shoulders hurt from being in the ‘aero’ position, and I am looking forward to getting off the bike. I also get stung by a wasp which decides to fly behind my sunglasses, panic, then sting me under my eye! It hurts a bit, but worse is the swelling. At least it didn’t sting my eyelid, that could have been a real problem!

I push on, and when I finally arrive back in Kalmar, to the transition area, I am so relieved. I see Tom, and my friends again who are shouting madly and taking photos, and I tell them how saddle sore I am, to which they laugh!

…One, not that quick, transition later, and I am in my running gear, heading off for the marathon. My running shoes feel really comfy, and it is such a nice feeling to be running and not cycling anymore! The time is 3:20pm and as I had planned to be starting the marathon at 4pm, I realise that I am making good time.

I start to dream of a 4 hr marathon and what a great time that would get me, but tell myself that I have a long way to go yet, and to take things at a manageable pace. I begin 9 minute milling, but soon find myself dropping the pace, and by 10 miles, I am really starting to feel weary. My legs feel fine, but there is a lack of energy despite forcing myself to take on more drinks and gels at the aid stations.

By 20 miles, I feel otherworldly and very nauseous, but I know I have 6 miles to go, so I get my head down, force a smile for the amazing volunteers at the side of the road, and take step by painful step back to the town of Kalmar, where I can see the crowds, and hear the roar and music of the finish line. This is what gets me through the last few miles. As I run through the cobbled streets of the town, past bars and restaurants, full of people shouting ‘Heja Heja’ (Go on Go on!) I am filled with emotion. My eyes well up as I see Tom running alongside me, and I can barely look him in the eye for fear of breaking down.

…Just 1 mile to go, I shuffle like an old lady, feeling terrible, but smiling to myself, I run past the castle, over a bridge, over some particularly painful cobbles, and round a corner to see the finish line and the time I was about to achieve. I break into a sprint. I can hear ‘Kings of Leon’ playing, and the commentator telling the crowd that I am an IRON MAN!!

I run to the line with my arms in the air, I look to the skies with relief, and I relish the feeling that not only have I completed the race, but I have finished in a time of 12:46, taking 1:24 off my previous time. Sub 13 hour!

WHAT AN AMAZING FEELING!! I am presented with my medal, have my photo taken, led off to the ‘athlete garden’ where showers, ice baths, and food await me, and then I burst into tears! I am awash with emotion, so happy and euphoric, and I go back out into the crowds to find Tom. His face is full of pride, and I cry again as he gives me the biggest hug. What an amazing support he has been. My friends then turn up, and I find that Ben has also smashed his time, coming in at 11:20! So happy for him!

We waddle off to find the biggest pizza we can, proudly displaying our medal bling, and then spend the evening cheering in the rest of the competitors through the dark streets as they make their way towards the bright lights and noise of the finish line. This is whats known as ‘heroes hour’ and everybody has their ‘moment’. We feel emotional for them.

What a great day. What a fantastic experience. Will I do another one? Never say never!!

Leanne :-)

Pain is Temporary, Failure is Forever! – Brighton Marathon 2012

Posted by Paul on April 27, 2012 with 0 Comments


Leanne Brighton Marathon Sports MassagerWell, that’s what I had written on my arm in permanent marker 2 days ago to act as my personal mantra for the Brighton Marathon 2012.

I’m not so sure I believe in that quite so strongly today as I hobble around my house, walking like an 80 year old, and only able to come down the stairs if I go backwards!

Still, the mantra did work on the day. I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:29:55 , breaking my personal best by 2 and a half minutes, and achieving the sub 3:30 marathon I have been dreaming of for years! Needless to say I was very happy with that and headed straight to the pub for a pint of ‘recovery’ Guinness with my friends.

But it is here that the really hard work begins. I have 18 weeks to go until I compete in the IRONMAN SWEDEN race on 18th August, and although I started my Ironman training back at Christmas time, now I have to ‘up the ante’ and start to put more training in.

The race comprises of a 3.8km swim in the sea, a 180km bike and a 42km (marathon) run. I have completed one of these races before, back in 2005, and been racing smaller distances since, but decided it was time to challenge myself again and see if, at the ripe old age of 41, I can do it again!


I will be training in the 3 disciplines of swim/bike/run and completing 3 sessions of each of these per week so it’s all very time consuming and takes a lot of self motivation and organisation to fit this in around work and everyday life!

I have to be very careful to look after my health, my immune system, and my joints and muscles to prevent/treat the inevitable injuries which come from this intensity of training.

My diet is very important, as are programmed rest days to allow my body to recover.

I also get a sports massage on a fortnightly basis to keep my muscles in good shape and prevent postural tensions from causing further injury.

In between these sessions I use my Aldrah Health Pro Massager to keep me going.

If I’m lucky , my hubby uses the massager on my back for me while we sit and watch TV! But it’s easy to use on my own, and I work on my hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves with it at least a couple of times per week..

So, this week, when I have recovered from running 26.2 miles last Sunday, my longest sessions will be 130 lengths of the pool and a 40-50 mile bike ride, so wish me luck, and I’ll be writing another blog in a few weeks.

Take care. Bye for now..

How Can a Sports Massage Help Me?

Posted by Paul on December 2, 2011 with 0 Comments

Sports massage was original designed and used for elite athletes. However, anyone can use and really benefit from it.

For example, if you play sports in any capacity and have noticed any of the following it can help you:

  • Flexibility issues
  • Range of motion issues
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Aching muscles following sport
  • Chronic pain
  • Injury

The reason that sports massage is so successful for so many people is that it was developed to help athletes in the following ways:

  • Get them ready for optimal performance
  • Help them to recover faster after performance
  • Improve function and performance during training

A sports massage is very important as part of the athletes training program. This is as important as warming up or cooling down before or after intense training.

Sports massage can help to remove the aches and pains that are built up over time. This is true for professional athletes and members of the public.

If you are engaged in any sports or recreational activity, then you can benefit from a sports massage.

What’s more, you don’t need to visit a professional all the time. You can learn to practice a self-massage.

You don’t need to accept aches and pains and suffer. Either you or the therapist can use their hands (or instruments) to find these muscular problems and then deal with them. This will improve your performance (if you are involved in any sport) and it will also improve your overall health.

This is because a sports massage will reduce the risk of injury and increase the range of motion in your joints.

If you have muscular imbalances, then these things can also be corrected with both sports massage and the correct strengthening exercises.

Besides these obvious benefits, a sports massage will also increase your flexibility, remove tension and stress, remove swelling and remove fatigue.

Many people feel a new sense of energy when they finish having their sports massage.

Massage works alongside the natural healing process in the body.

This occurs because a massage will increase the blood flow to certain areas of the body. This means that any problems or injuries can be quickly recovered from by manipulating the flow of blood to vital tissues.

For More Information download our free eBook ‘The Golden Rules of Sports Massage for Superior Performance’

Free Sports Massage eBook











What is Therapeutic Sports Massage?

Posted by Paul on August 9, 2011 with 0 Comments

Therapeutic sports massage is a certain type of massage technique that deals with issues relating to soft tissue aches, pains and injuries.

These things are all related to recreational activities.

In these circumstances, massage can reduce muscle stiffness and also reduce the heart rate and blood pressure.

This has the effect of producing a relaxing effect on the patient.

Therapeutic sports massage is performed by applying pressure to the soft tissues. This results in an increase in joint motion, decrease in muscle stiffness and improved muscle flexibility.

Following the massage you will experience the following:

•    A feeling of total relaxation
•    An improved general mood
•    A reduction in any stress that you had
•    Reduced anxiety
•    Other physiological benefits

As you can see, a therapeutic sports massage has more than just physical benefits. It will also give you an improvement in attitude and outlook on your life.

Massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues in the human body. It is a natural therapy that principally treats musculoskeletal problems.

By treating the soft tissues, it gives a curative effect to the body as the soft tissues are made more pliable and blood circulation is improved.

As the soft tissues are made more pliable and the blood flow increases, the healing benefits on the body are also increased.

These benefits include both physical and psychological changes that improve general well being.

How are the massage benefits applied?

The massage benefits are brought about when the massage therapist uses their hands to apply systematic pressure on your body.

There are a number of different techniques involved in a massage.

There are also many different strokes that can be used. These will depend on the patient, the health of the patient, the situation and so on.

Some of the most common therapist techniques are:

1. Effleurage – this is a gliding stroke using with the palms, fingertips and thumbs. This technique is generally used at the beginning and end of a sports massage.

2. Petrissage – here you use the hands with a kneading movement. You use the fingers and the thumbs on the deeper tissues.

This helps to bring about relaxation and stretch the muscle fibres and mobilize fluids.

3. Friction – this is done with circular pressure, using the palms, thumbs and fingers. This is really used to find the more serious issues located in the deeper tissues.

The strokes will break down lesions and recent scar tissue. This stroke can also separate muscle fibres.

Only use this stroke for short periods of time as it can cause irritation and inflammation if over used.

If you see a sports massage therapist you will understand the different strokes in more detail. You will also be able use these on yourself.

Some of the massage strokes can also be done with an electric massager, which makes the softer strokes much easier to perform.

New Video On How to Use the Massager

Posted by Paul on June 13, 2011 with 0 Comments


Triathlete and sports massage therapist Leanne shows you how to use the Aldrah Heath Pro Massager and Pads  – full of great tips and instructions on getting the best use out of the Massager.


Bodyfit Magazine Pick for Best Home Massager

Posted by Paul on April 7, 2011 with 0 Comments


Bodyfit Best MassagerBodyfitImage

Best Bodyfit Massager


In April 2011 Bodyfit Magazine published this in a feature about the Best Home Massagers to use..

..why thank you Bodyfit!

Tissue Salts for Cramp and Muscle Relaxation

Posted by Paul on March 1, 2011 with 0 Comments

I have a great tip for you if you are experiencing cramping and tense muscles and want something to help you that is a safe and natural way to gain quick relief.

New Era No 8 Mag PhosTissue Salts are an excellent, safe and simple way to in essence ‘put back into the body what has been taken out’.

For example the body need certain basics elements to make the body work efficiently so if it does not get it by input (i.e. food and drink ) or the body’s supply it has been burned away by exercise or stress, it will leech it from other areas of the body.

E.g : If the body needs calcium and if doesn’t get it from food or drink it will leech if from the bones – (causing other problems in the future) more can be read about Tissue Salts Here.

However I have discovered a brilliant one for sporting muscle tension and cramps and it is Tissue Salt: Mag. phos

Its Function States : anti-spasmodic, ensures smooth movement of muscles.

Uses: cramps, spasms, relief from sharp pain, flatulence, headaches with shooting pain, low energy and neuralgia.

You usually take 4 every few hours or so – However a great tip to try – called a HOT 7  -  is this:

About half a hour before you go to bed  -  dissolve 10 tablets in warm but not boiling water, about half a cup will be fine. Drink slowly.

You will not only have a wonderful sleep but will also wake up feeling completely rested and with a significant amount of muscle tension and pain gone overnight.

Try using these simple and safe tissue salts in combination with other types of sports massage for maximum benefit.

They are very cheap to buy at around £5 per pot (about a months supply) – they can be purchased here:

Buy Tissue Salt: Mag. phos

Sports Massage for Walkers

Posted by Paul on February 18, 2011 with 0 Comments

Many people use waking as their main source of exercise. Walking is a brilliant form of exercise, but it can also cause muscle tension.

If you are a keen walker then you should also think about having a sports massage or doing some simple exercises on yourself.

Here’s why…

During and after a long walk your muscles can become knotted. This can often cause old injuries to flare up again, as these areas are the weakest parts of your body.

You should also pay attention to overuse injuries from too much repetitive activity.

This is where sports massage can give you tremendous benefits.

It will help to realign your body’s balance and posture (tension in the body means that you posture and balance will be thrown off).

As you are aware, poor balance and posture quickly leads to injury and it causes a reduction in performance levels.

The sports massage will work on the knots and tight areas in your body in order to massage out the knots.

This will remove the stress on your body (particularly in muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints).

A sports massage will also increase the blood flow and quickly rejuvenate aching muscles after a long walk.

Massaging will remove the lactic acid and toxins that naturally build up from exercise.

If you are a regular walker and want to continue without muscle stress and injury then pay attention to the flowing areas. These are the ones that get the most stress during any endurance walk:

  • Hamstrings (back of the upper leg)
  • Quadriceps (front of the thigh)
  • Adductors (adducts the thigh at the front)
  • Gastrocnemius (calf muscle)
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Plantar fascia (thick connective tissue in the foot)
  • Piriformis (buttocks area)
  • Gluteals (major muscles of the buttocks)
  • Iliopsoas (dorsal hip muscles)

It is also important to pay attention to your lower back during a long walk. This is an area that becomes stressed, as muscle imbalances in your body are present.

If you have lower back pain (even occasionally), you will find a great deal of benefit from a back massage.

Of course, the final thing to mention is that a foot massage is also a great idea. This will really relieve the aches and stress in your feet and gives them a fresh feeling right away.

Foot massages are very good for overall rejuvenation and considered important for organ functioning in Chinese medicine.

..Don’t forget if you do a lot of walking you can also use a powerful hand held massager for regular treatments on joints and muscles at home!

Common Sports Injuries

Posted by Paul on January 7, 2011 with 0 Comments

Common Sports Injuries

Great simple diagram highlighting some common sporting Injuries, most injuries will heal quicker with a simple yet effective massage to increase circulation which in turn promotes healing.

Popular Misconceptions about Sports Massage

Posted by Paul on January 7, 2011 with 0 Comments

There are many misconceptions about what sports massage is and how it can benefit the individual.

Firstly, a sports massage is not just a rubdown.

In fact, a sports massage has an impact on almost every single major system in the body. This means that anyone can benefit from a sports massage.

Here’s something else that most people don’t realise…

Sport massages can be performed pre event, post event and inter-event.

The pre event massage will keep the person relaxed and prepared for the event.

The post event sports massage helps to flush out the excess waste produced in the body during the exercise or event. This alone greatly helps to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

Another misconception revolves around training.

Many people have been led to believe that the more you train the better you will become.

In many cases this is wrong. Muscles become harder as they are trained and therefore lose their elasticity and flexibility.

A sports massage will help your muscle tissues to stretch and ensure they receive the right nutrient blood flow that they need.

As you can see, there is far more to a sports massage than a simple rub.

So, if you want to gain the benefits listed above, then think about getting a sports massage in the near future.

If you want the same benefits without seeing a therapist, you can use this powerful hand held massager on a regular basis.

All the best