Saturday, December 29, 2007

I am still here!

OK it's been a crap month for blogging hasn't it. Well for me it has. Excuses - none really. Although it has been quarter end for my work, which is year end for my customer, quite a bit of Christmas celebrations AND I've got a new addition to my family;





Yes this is Soros the new cat. He's got his own blog which you can look at by clicking on the photo! Needless to say there has been quite a bit of tension in the household - what with Muffin the current dominate alpha male cat and Soros the new kid on town! Interesting!

Despite all the above my training hasn't been a complete disaster - not quite anyhow.

Although I'm currently laid up in bed having been struck down yesterday with the tummy lurgy which is currently doing the rounds. All I'm going to say is I haven't barfed so violently in a long time, but am feeling slightly better today and have just attempted a bagel. So my 2hour LSR which was on the plan for the weekend is pretty much out of the window. I've decided I won't be doing anything strenuous on the training front until I've had at least a day of food retention!

Before I got struck down I did manage to hit the pool Thursday and do a good session of drills before attempting my 3*300m time trial (to be repeated every month or so). This I thought would be good basis to see where I'm at now and then to judge improvement - and besides there are a couple of books I have which suggest this as a good thing to do!

So the idea is to do 3 * 300m on 30secs, with the idea that you are not to have more then a 15s deviance between the 3 (ie a rate you can maintain rather then blasting the first and being dead in the last). Given my single 400m TT a week or so ago was 8:20ish I thought I'd be around the 6:12 mark.

RESULT: 5:52, 5:58, 6:08 so I was very pleased with that result - very sweet. Although my first to last deviation was 16secs I think I'll still award myself a gold star! What makes it sweeter still is looking back at the last time I did this test (OK so it was at the beginning of April) the times were: 6:46, 6:58, 6:56. I really can't believe the difference! I just wonder how much more I can improve. Obviously my technique must be much better and given I'm not yet swimming regularly again I think there must be more to come. My Tri Camp is at the end of January so I'll do a retest when I get back from that and see what swimming everyday for an hour has done!

So the rest of the training has been going ok. From the schedule (which I have not achieved fully in any of the last three weeks!), I have managed all but one run, done ok on the bike, missed a few strength and/or swim sessions. Overall I've managed about 60% of the hours - so not a complete disaster but not great either. I guess as long as I'm there on my run sessions (which I'm definitely feeling improvement on) I won't worry too much, although come the new year there will be no celebration excuses for misadventure and waivering from the plan!

Hope you all had a great Christmas break!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ooops

Blimey - didn't realise it's been so long since my last blog! Thought it was last wednesday for some reason but now realise it was nearly two weeks ago!

Bad blogging!

Bad Karen!

Training summary: 1 * good week, 1 * bad week (last week)

Work summary: 1 * good week, 1 * utterly bizarre week (also last week)

Home Front: 2 * excellent weeks

Christmas shopping: Everything ordered, question is will Amazon let me down?!... and if they don't will the Royal Mail deliver?

New Family member: Arriving tomorrow.

Recent tri-training accomplishments:
- 1* hr long ride in the pouring rain. Wet but not too cold
- 1.5hr ride in the FREEZING really cold cold cold wind. I think it must have been minus something ....brrrr
- 1.5hr run also in the FREEZING cold (day after the ride).
- 400m swim time trial tonight = 8:20: Think if I had actually been swimming regularly I'd have come nearer to the magical 8mins.... but given I haven't been I'll take the new PB!

OK: Blog over. It's nearly midnight and I should have been in bed hours ago!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Decorations!

Yes - in a mass of excitement Sunday morning I decided to put my Christmas decorations up (it's ok I don't have lots!).... Let's just say the cat thought it was also quite exciting:


How sweet he looks.... but was he looking in awe at the tree and lights?...

Did he want to simple sniff the fake tree and balls?...


No!! A quick swipe here.....

And a quick swipe there;









At least the tree has not yet come down - but Muffin certainly knows how to grab my attention if I've not fed him!!! Mad cat!!

Oh yes and training.... summary of last few days;

Sunday - following on from Saturday's muddy theme... Well I decided not to do the x-country as my leggie was still a bit sore. Decided a LSR near home would be better.... although we did have a storm blowing, so it was slower in places as I couldn't really get through the wind! ... .and it was also very very muddy in places too (I much prefer to hit the trails rather then the road). Still a nice 10k in just over the hour. Given my sore legs from the MTB ride the day before I was happy to survive that one!

Monday got up early and headed to the gym for a weights session. Don't know whether it was me or the gym, but I was really cold! Note to self - layer up, yes even in the gym!!

Tuesday. Was thinking of doing two sessions but a really frustrating day at work only led to one, although it was fairly good quality. Warmed up 1.5k on the cross trainer and some stretching then hit the treadmill for a run session. The plan called for a 20min run at 9kph followed by 10min at my hopeful half-marathon pace for March. OMG! It was hard... 10mins at 11kph I should really ought to do. Just shows how little faster running I've been doing (ie not be doing at all). Thought I wasn't going to be able to finish it.... but got into my "zone" with about a minute to go and got it done. Yikes! Plenty of improvement to be had - which is fine really... no pain no gain or something like that ;o)

Plans for today - once I've been to work (simply couldn't get up early to go to the gym this morning...).... get a strength session in followed by a swim and then a nice chill out in the SPA :o)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

MTB Mud

So - do you think I should invest in some mud guards?


Had a really good ride today. Organised MTB trail ride in the lovely Berkshire countryside. Gorgeous! Alas it did hammer with rain last night so some of the tracks were just a little muddy (read quagmires) - but that adds to the fun really doesn't it. It was a great sunny day, although there was a bite in the air with a chilly 6 degrees.... colder then I first thought so it was lucky I had packed my rain mac as it was needed just as a layer!

Started off just before 10am pretty much headed straight off road into some woods. The wierd thing about this was that there were leafs galour covering the floor which was hiding the MUD. So that was a bit strange .. thinking you were riding on solid ground but not really. After a bit of up and down hill in the wood then had a bit of a confrontation with a couple of horses. All quite polite until another MTBiker came crashing down the muddy hill which made one of the horses rear up - could have been nasty but wasn't which was lucky really.

Finally we popped out onto a bit of road, then another bridle path for a short downhill section - which was interesting in so far as that you couldn't see what was coming due to the sun light flashing through the trees to the right!

Eventually after a bit more on the road we hit a really great stretch of path by the Thames. Really great stuff through some trees with the river to the left - a bit skitty under tyre but a fab bit of trail. Alas all this downward motion only means one thing really.... yes uphill all the way. UG! Talk about thigh and calf buster... and as for my granny ring - nah the chain simply wouldn't go into it. YIKES!

Finally (finally) and eventually we made it back to the start/finish... some 2 hours and 25k (yes only 25k) later! I'm just glad I opted for the short route and not the standard. The bowl of chilli and cup of tea were a fine welcome to the finish line!

Thought (briefly) about a swim this afternoon... .but frankly I'm a bit pooped, not just from the ride but also from the rather late dinner night (work do) on Thursday night. Nothing like a good mtb blast in the countryside to blast the cobwebs away from those kind of indulgences!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Making up....

...for yesterday.

Had a good day both at work and with training. HURRAH for both!

Managed to get up early this morning (it was still very dark outside and even the bin men had not been), and headed for the gym armed with a running magazine and my swim stuff. It's ok I wasn't going to read in the pool... but read on the bike. Yes I did take it kind of easy, a steady 45mins of easy spinning on the gym bike (not too ideal a stead but you get what you get).... nothing too arduous, keeping my HR well in the FB zone (about 122). Read pretty much all the mag too. Good oh! The bike said I'd done 25+k which can't be right really, so assumed that to be more like 20k.

Followed the ride with a quick shower (I'm considerate like that), and headed for the pool for a session (second one of the week - can't remember when I did two swims in a week). Did a good session there, again quite a lot of drills for a total of 1500m in about 45mins.... All good stuff so far.

Then scampered on back home to work for the day - yes I do occasionally have the opportunity to work from hom. Usually get quite a bit done too - although today my phone was more like the bat-phone... didn't stop ringing all day!! Still a good day it was too... so much so that this evening I took one look at the TV listing for tonight (nothing on) and headed back to the gym!!! Just to see if my calf would stand a run. Did look a bit of a nerd (yes, yes, more then usual), as I had a compression sock on the bad leg - but not on the other one - and yes I was wearing shorts. As I said; I looked a bit of a nerd!!! Still I managed 10mins on the x-trainer as a warm-up (which counts as "running" in my training tracker!), some stretching then on to the treadmill for some intervals. Nothing too strenuos - 10reps of 1'@11.5kph, 1'@8kph. This was all fairly comfortable - which is fine at this stage of the training schedule. Walked for 5' warmdown (which I don't count in my stats), before embarking on a rather lengthy stretch session (which I will count in my stats!). Have realised (about time some would say) that the stretching part is really important, particularly to my warm-down. My hammies, calfs and quads could all do with being longer and certainly not so tight!

So I think I've made up for yesterday's malaise! Tomorrow is though another day. I'm working in London all day prior to going to a black-tie awards evening in Mayfair in the evening. So there will certainly be no training in the afternoon/ evening, and let's face it I'm going to have a sherbert or two at the awards evening so I am planning on having a TFI Friday with no training in it. So my chance to train is tomorrow morning - which means an early get up so I can fit it in something before taxi comes to get me in the morning! What that something is is dependent on the calf situation in the morning. If it's up to it I'd like to get another run in - we will see.

On another important note - There may be an addition to the family. More on that later.

Oh and one further book of recommended reading (not that I usually do recommend books), but this is particularly for Wes. Wes you may consider putting this on your Christmas list:

"The Book of Etiquette", written by Lady Laura Troubridge (1926)

A very interesting read !!! ;o)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The breaking strain....

...of a kitkat....

Yesterday I planned a strength session in the morning and either a club run in the evening of easy turbo on the bike.... I did manage the strength session before breakfast but did not make any evening activity - to be fair though this was mainly because I didn't leave work until about 7pm and then when I did get home I was on the phone (working) until just before 9pm... so no fun there. To be honest I thought it best it worked out that way in the end because my calf (the one that had the strain in the summer) seems to be sore after the x-country. Thinking about I realise I did have a bit of cramp on the route on Sunday, which is probably what I'm feeling... hummm... hopefully no strain like the last time.

Anyhow - onto the point of note.....

I then *thought* I'd get up early this morning to make up the bike session with another one this evening (this time a swim)... and this is where my will power has let me down! I have discovered over recent months that what they say in the books is true: Get your training in early and it takes away the strain from having to fit it in the rest of the day. Anyhow I obviously forgot this when I hit the snooze button at 0615 this morning! The Kitkat was definitely under strain. But it's ok I thought... I'll do a 50' bike and a swim still tonight.... Oh then I went to work where.. SNAP... "Shall we go to the pub after work?"... "Oh ok then"... damn. So I find myself home late and with no will to get on the bike and do anything.

At least I stuck to the lime and soda!

Recent training summary;
Monday: Strength session = 1 hour
Tuesday: Zip, Nil, Nada....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cross Country

As in off road not angry (although after that football game most of the country is actually quite cross - but that's another thing entirely!)

So what fun. A lovely morning, cool with blue skies and dry. Hurrah! Unfortunately I had a very very good sleep (read overslept) so had breakie a little late at about 9am. This gave me 2 hours before the race.... which I thought may not be enough given I had porridge... and I was right! The starting horn sounded and a fought with the food for the first couple of miles!

The race itself was really nice, well attended and really well organised. It took place on some army training ground, mainly trails through forest. The paths were all pretty good with the odd area of boggy mud which really didn't hinder at all.

The race itself was a little ... err... "emotional" for the first half in that it was quite hilly, some longer and some short but sharp nasty little things. Apparently this is good for you (so I'm told!!). Found myself being overtaken on the hills then catching some people back up on the downhills (I can't help myself but just freefall these!)

With the help of the trusty Garmin you can see the start was in the sandy area in the centre. The first loop around to the right was were it got hilly. After that the loop to the left was very slight slopes really with open heathland and a little boggy.

In the graph thingy above some stats... HR, pace and elevation change (from previous point I guess??). HR started nice and easy (that's because the first half mile or so was down hill pretty much!)... then came a bit of a slight hill followed by a short nasty monster during mile 2. I guess you'd put mile 3 onwards definitely in the tempo zone. I didn't warm up really until a good 10-15mins into the race (yes maybe I should have actually warmed up before the start ...hummm)...... the next race is as soon as next weekend and that one is supposed to be very very hilly (OH DEAR!)

A good way to get a training run in though.... Oh just under 55mins for 5.5miles (8.9km) and 66th lady from about 90.. which is about normal for me (particularly given these x-countries are full of proper club runners and this is the first run in two weeks and about 2nd in a month!!!!)

Oh and Wes - yes no IM in the race schedule for next year - I am not that mad (yet) ... unlike you ;o)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I think I have a plan.....

Still some finer points to go I think.... but, based on Bernhardt's book "Training Plans for Multisport Atheletes" I'm looking at the 27 week half-ironman schedule which I've tweaked quite a bit in the first half to accommodate the training plan for the Reading Half Marathon. Decided to try out the "under 1:45" schedule, hoping that will get me below 2hours. I'm not doing the recommended runs per week as I'll be mixing in the cycle, swim, conditioning too.

So my races look like this;
(A) 02 March 08: Reading Half Marathon
(C) 24 March 08: Thames Turbo Sprint
(B) 04 May 08: New Forest Olympic (well actually it's a little short of that)
(A) 15 June 08: UK 70.3 (the big one!)
(B) 10 Aug 08: London Olympic (just because I had an absolute blast this year!)

And the plan looks a bit like this;
To be completely honest I think the hours look a little steep. But you know in for a penny in for a pound and at least now I have an idea at least!!! I suppose I'd better cough up the entry fees and enter the races!!

Training update:
Nearly rid of the sniffles (last bit of the bug), alas my ear still isn't sorted - no pain or anything I just can't hear much... apart from bizarrely a fridge like noise which is a little wierd!

Had a great night last night which led to the hangover monster stealing hours away from me today - I've no idea where this morning went. Still I did make it out on Bianca this afternoon. The first time in full winter get up (it was cold!). Haven't worked out what to do about my toes yet as they were blocks of ice after about 30mins -rest of me was good though. Managed a relaxing 30k in 1hr10 which was ok (given the cold windy conditions and my own delicate state), I would have managed more had in not been for the fact I have no lights on my roadie and it's quite dull from about 3pm. Also managed my first swim in an absolutely a-g-e! Managed again a relaxing one, quite a lot of drill sets for 1.5k in 55mins. So at least today has been a good training day!

Tomorrow I'm foolishly (some would say) going to attempt a cross country race. Should be a laugh - this is the first 5-6miler in a while and will be happy therefore plodding away at the back and just use the race to socialise with my club mates and get a run in. Will have to make sure I'm not too slow or the very fast folks will have raided the chocolate cakes and tea etc before I get a chance to get them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting Better... YIPPEE

So first off let me point out that I was intending to write this blog after the football (England playing Croatia, need to win or draw to get into Euro 2008).... HOWEVER due to one goalkeeping blunder and one defensive gaff we are already 2-0 down ... so I may as well get on with something more interesting then waste my time watching the game!

Now per my title I can happily confirm I'm getting over the lurgy, just left now with a bit of a runny nose but I'm feeling heaps better. Hurrah for that! Tried to get back into training on Monday by going to the gym for a weights session - figured this would be ok as wouldn't strain my heart/lungs!! Had an ok work out which I ended by going into the steam room! I figured that if that didn't help loosen the sinus' nothing would!! Despite the fact I felt pretty dead all day at work as the evening came on I felt the first stir of my beans... energy beans that is... so felt like I was kicking the bug! Hurrah!

Worked from home Tuesday largely due to the fact everyone (and it does really seem like everyone) is going down with a variety of upset stomachs which I certainly didn't want to get! Despite the wfh I did end up helping out with some presso work and thus working late. This followed by an hour catch up on the phone with a friend lead to a day of inactivity (apart from the obligatory nose blowing of course).

I'm happy to report that today though I've made some semblance of effort and achieved two very exciting things;
1. I rode Rocky into work and back. The way home was in the dark - very spooky in places - although I was certainly highly visible! So that was great to be able to do that and believe me has helped clear the nose some more (I'm glad no one was behind me this morning is all I'm saying)

2. I booked my holiday up in Club La Santa! YEAAAAHHH! I'm going back to Lanzarote for a sprint/ olympic distance tri camp at the beginning of Feb. It'll be great to get some sunshine in the middle of winter and it'll also be great having the focus of a camp. I know I'm doing HIM next season but the schedule looks fine (despite the course title). So that really is something to look forward to and ensure I train for!!! What's more I'm going to catch up with one of the fellow Tri buddies I met last year on the course - in fact we're sharing accommodation (his missus has approved I hasten to add!)

Incidentally it's half-time and we're still 2 nil down and what's more Russia are currently winning against Andorra and so we will not be going to Euro'08. Humm. Oh dear now they're replaying all the bad bits (of which there are plenty) and all the pundits are giving it some... agh!

Going back to my training in general. I was intending (having saintly ridden to/ from work) to also get a swim in tonight. However after I got home I had the strangest cramps in my toes/ feet and legs.... very strange. So I decided that perhaps that wouldn't be sensible and settled to watch the footy instead.... Evidently I should have gone swimming ;o)

Plans for tomorrow are still fluid. I'll try and get something in before and after work with nothing on the agenda for Friday as I'm working up in London which is always a long day (and I'm going out in the evening in town too!)

Am really looking forward to the weekend too with a bit of socialising (always good!), planning on joining the Tri club ride Saturday morning (whatever the weather!) and also doing a X-country run (ok so it's a race but who said I'll be racing) on Sunday. Now that will be a challenge!!!

Ok so the second half as started so I may as well try and watch it.... going back to a 4-4-2 (as opposed to the 3-1-3-3 of the first half!)

For all those bloggers in the US Happy Holiday season (I AM SO JEALOUS!)

21:13 FOOTY update: WE HAVE A PENALTY ... but Lampard is taking it..... hold your breath...
** SCORED!!! ** now 2-1 and there's HOPE

21:22 HYSTERIA...... We've just scored!.... and we're back in Euro'08

21:35 HOLD YOUR HORSES... they've scored and we're out (again)... I think I'm going to get myself a beer....

21:52 We lost. We're out :o( I think I'm going to bed!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ahhh-chooo!

Oh gosh - hope you didn't have to wipe the screen down with that sneeze....

Humm so I haven't trained at all (excluding housework) for 4 days - it's about time this bug bugged out. To be honest I'm feeling quite a bit better, just wish my nose wasn't leaking quite so much. Yes, ok, enough already.

Prep-phase was supposed to start about now - humm - frustrating.... How am I supposed to start when I can't breath?! Still one can't hurry a cold away can one. Sigh.

So, following on from my previous post I thought I'd get on the scales as I've no idea what my current cruising weight is (baring in mind I always put on weight "for winter" - or could it be because I've don't train much in the Autumn...hummmmm) Anyhow, where was I...yes so I jumped on the scales and they came up a whopping 72.3kg!!!!! So I got off and stepped on to see if stepping on them (rather then jumping) made any difference. No. Shocking. What's more my scales also told me my body fat was up at 28.9! Also VERY shocking. Can't blame that on water retention!!!! ;o) This also puts my BMI at 24.3 GOSH!

This all puts me in the "normal" zone so not quite panicking but it's at the high end of normal. There's only one thing for it, actually two things for it;
1. Start to train - that's lucky as it is the right time of year for that: PHEW
2. Ban the three C's: Chocolate, Chips and Cheese. YIKES!

Luckily I've now got an outline plan for next season. I'm going to follow the "27 week plan to a half-ironman" which can be found in "Training plans for Multisport Athletes" by Bernhardt. A great book recommended by Wes.

I've also got a slightly out of sync (ie it's not in Bernhardt's planned schedule) half marathon entered for 2 March 2008. This is a well attended half-mary with something like 15,000 participants. It's going to be pretty special for two reasons (1) it's in my home town and (2) my Dad did the Reading Half when I was a kid (about 12/ 13 I think), so it'll be cool to follow in his shoes as it were. I'll have to flex the programme a bit to get the training in for this but I don't see any real problem.

Right better go and finish that tub of ice-cream that's in the freezer!! ;o)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Magazine articles

I've read a couple of interesting articles recently;

1. Runners World - "What's your ideal weight"
This talked a bit about BMI etc with relation to exercise - the really interesting thing in this is the table which represents "lose weigh, gain speed". Apparently if I were to lose 4.5kg (say) I would be faster by.....1:02 for 5k, 2:04 for 10k, 4:22 for half and 8:44 for full marathon.

It really is quite an interesting article and although my weight is ok (I'm about 71kg and 173cm, which apparently means by BMI is 23.7 which is ok), I know in my misspent youth I was nearer 10st (64kg) and when I was at the peak of this summer I was about 68kg.... so does this mean theoretically I could shave a couple of mins of my 10k time by shedding the weight. That sounds like a great incentive. Alas my will power is weak when it comes to my love for food! ;o)

2. Gale Bernhardt - Training Plans for Multisport Athletes
There's a chapter in this book on basic nutrition. Here's some factoids I didn't know;
1 gram carb = 4 calories
1 gram protein = 4 calories
1 gram fat = 9 calories
1 gram alcohol = 7 calories

OMG! Now I'm beginning to look at my love of cheese and red wine and can figure out quite quickly why, despite my exercise regime, I carry that weight around my backside and thighs... oh that and the genetic disposition for so doing, believe me with these things combined I have no chance ;o)

Conclusion
So I guess what I'm figuring (given my excesses of eating and drinking this last week and a bit) is that once I get on my training plan there ought to be another element to the plan. DIET. Certainly during the peak of training last year my diet wasn't right which I think is why I got hit quite hard with that nasty virus thing. I wasn't getting enough protein in for a start and probably not the right vitamins and minerals too. What I'm going to do is weigh myself, (I think my scales also do some for of estimate on body fat too), take some measurements (esp hips, thighs) and see how I'm measuring up (as it were) over the months ahead. Reckon if I do this once a month say in the rest/ recovery week it'll be interesting, assuming I pay the right attention to what I'm eating, to see where this gets me.


and finally, one more article for you:

3. Scottish Press - Bike Sex man placed on probation
Reading this article did make me question "How? Where? How? Why?!" and was a source of amusement whilst I was waiting for my plane at Edinburgh airport yesterday. Basically a man was caught in the act with his bike - yes doing his bike!!! WHAT!? It's now made it on to the BBC news website so go and take a look at the article here!

Oh and as for the lurgy - yep it's got me :o( I'm not particularly happy about it, not only do a feel right lousy but I can't train either.... that'll just make me more grumpy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A random blog....

Given my excesses over the weekend my defenses are going to be low. Couple that with the man who sat opposite me on the train yesterday, coughing and spluttering, leads to one inevitable outcome... lurgy on the loose in my body... aghhh... This evening I'm feeling the beginnings of something in my nose and head, but not to worry... I'm having plenty of fresh food and will start on the echinacea and I'm sure it'll not develop into anything :o~

Despite the feeling of impending lurgy doom I did go to the gym to join the other tens of people doing a post-work workout. Just like the proverbial mice on the exercise wheel I joined the crowd and did a 45min bike and 15min run (my second brick this month - a miracle!)..... Did have wild intentions of then moving into the pool for a swim but this sinus sensation convinced me not to try ;o)

Although I must get into the pool really. When am I going to do that? This week at work is just hectic - lots of travel. Although today this was really unsuccessful as I spent 2 hours (yes TWO) traveling a whole mile (just the one) up an A road towards the M40. Evidently the lights at the junction were out. So I missed my customer meeting - in fact it started late, and finished before I made it out of the jam... Anyhow eventually got to the roundabout and came back home. The longest round trip going nowhere that I've ever done I think!!!

Hummm what other excitement - why yes - 6 weeks to go until Christmas .. AAAGGGGHHHH!

On another note - why is it that smell of fish (in this case sardines) lingers for hours after they've been grilled?!

Ok enough waffle - I guess it must be time for bed!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Retribution

Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!

Q: What do you get if you have a 4 day weekend in Spain with friends?

A:A jolly big hangover, 2kilo's extra weight and a general feeling of tiredness and blouting for having only trained the right arm (lifting drinks I hasten to add)

...back late last night.... and then it was Monday

...RETRIBUTION MONDAY
0550: Wake up 25mins before the alarm with the triumphant meowing from the cat after a successful mouse hunt
0600: Getting up to double bag the above mentioned dead mouse
0700: Leaving for work to travel by train to London
0701: Opening the door to be greeted with a very cold blast of wind and the car covered in frost - yes it's just above freezing!
1835: Getting back into the home station, freezing cold again and having to wait 3 mins before driving off because the car is frosted up
1850 - 2000: Quick break from "payback" my having a cup of nice tea with the neighbour whilst thanking them for feeding the cat for the weekend.
2015: Venturing out (in freezing temperatures) to go for a well needed run... Talk about COLD!

But at least I was wrapped up....
Then I felt the cold icy blast of the outdoors....

The cat looked at me like I was mad!
Still 6.7km later and I felt quite saintly again - That was until I tucked into a nice bag of fish and chips I got at the chippy on the way home :o)

On a more positive note I've now read several reviews of Ironman 70.3 UK........ here's some quotes;

So the organizers tout the UK 70.3 race as the ‘Hardest half ironman in the world’. ......I thought,yeah, yeah, whatever, how hard can it be? I just finished Ironman Lanzarote for chrissakes. Well, I don’t know if it’s the hardest, but it definitely smashed me up plenty.

The run course was brutal, it dived straight down toward the lake and then turned a corner and kicked right back up again, nearly all lumpy off road, it was so tough

I raced the UK 70.3 event over the weekend in Exmoor, I think it is safe to say that it is one of the hardest, if not the hardest half Ironman course in the world. Not many first timers are put off by this fact, I am not sure of the exact figure but a large proportion of the field were doing this distance for the first time.

I knew it was going to be a tough day of racing from the end of the swim...


Oh dear!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2007 RECAP

Well I think it's time (if a little late) to recap my first season in triathlon. What a year! Pretty much surpassed all expectations despite the broken hand at the beginning of the year and the stutter that created to the start of my training.

My season goals were to;
1. Complete sprint 400/20/5 in under 1hr25!
2. Finish my first Olympic distance Tri

Did the first much earlier then expected and as for my first Oly - well how much did I enjoy that!! I'm really proud of achieving these two. But if you had said to me a year ago "oh put down a half marathon too" I'd have laughed! I never thought I'd ever want to do a half marathon let alone enjoy it. The triathlon 70.3 dream though spurred me on to want to do one of these and so an unexpected late season goal appeared too.

My training goals were, on reflection, perhaps a little random:
1. Swim: break 9' for 400m!
2. Bike: build up to regular 3hr training ride
3. Run: Break 25' for 5k and 55' for 10k

Given my lack of confidence and ability in the swim a year ago I thought 9mins for 400 would be really difficult. However, consistent training of 2-3 sessions a week (one of which was a club coached swim) saw me blasting through this time early in the season. The difficult thing will now be showing the same level of improvement. Well in fact I've got to get back to swimming like a fishee given I've not been concentrating on the pool much these last couple of months!

I also decided quite early on (given some good blogger advice) that a regular 3hour ride was not necessary for Olympic distance so that one was pretty much ignored. Similarly for the 10k/5k run times. I think these run times are still aspirational for me, but due to a lack of running in my training I think these were a little unrealistic this season.

I've learnt a lot about myself and the sport over the last year. I've also had a fine excuse to buy some great kit, gadgets galore and triathlon books!!

Next year my focus is without a doubt 70.3 - I really can't wait to get stuck in! Although I do want to do London again at Olympic distance. That was such a huge event and such fun I just want to do it again.

I've decided not to do Swiss 70.3 which was my original thought but to do the UK 70.3 down in Devon. Quite simply I will have more support in the UK with hopefully my family being able to come down to shout me on. It made a real difference knowing my Mum and Brother would be on the half marathon course so giving them the opportunity of being there to support is quite important to me - just need to bribe them to get there now ;o)

I'm working on getting my training plan sorted, pretty much starts at the beginning of December, with this month now dedicated to ensuring I get an increasing level of training with at least 1 swim, 1 bike and 1 run in per week.

Oh and the other thing I'm going to experiment with is my training week starting on a Saturday rather then Monday. This may seem a little bonkers but from a psychological point of view I figured if I get a high percentage of my weekly training done at the weekend then come Monday I won't feel so stressed about what I need to get done in the week. Yes - told you it seems a little bonkers - but still, each to their own ;o)

Now on to another matter. Since my old laptop died (without no back up) I've obviously lost all my bookmarks - including all those blogs I often read for inspiration! This is a little annoying! So I'm going to put those links at the sidebar, once I find them again - why did I never do this before!?!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Back on line!

Hurrah! My new shiney yellow Dell laptop has arrived early. I'm very pleased with it - although I forget to ask how much it weighed before I got it... so it's a little on the heavy side but overall I'm very happy!

So I've managed to download my Garmin (at last) and thought I'd share with you some pretty pictures from October.....

First - here is the elevation over distance chart for Henley half marathon - I did mention that hill didn't I!!! ;o)
... What I'm pleased with though is the HR throughout the race. You can see the dip for each rest period but pretty consistent HR throughout, despite the gradient - which I think, from what I've read, bodes well for HIM next year as you need to be having a steady HR. The final surge for home pushed my HR up - in fact my Garmin said max was 186 - never knew my HR max was that high! So I guess I'll have to reset my training zones accordingly! Also hit the caffeine gel around mile 6.5 - and think my average goes up as a result - will see in later experiments I think!


I've also played a little bit of hockey these last couple of weeks, and we know the pretty patterns that creates with Garmin.....


This weekend I've had a most excellent adventure down in Devon. Weather has been beautiful, clear skies with a little bit of Autumn chill. I went down to take a look at the UK 70.3 bike course... two laps of what appears to be a giant hill! I drove it first, although missed the transition exit onto the lap. The start of it come race day is at the "top" of the hill which means down hill for the first half then back up again;

Looks really pretty though on a map;

The lake you can see in the middle is where the swim and run parts take place. A lovely part of the country (if a little hilly!). Having seen the hills I decided that doing a lap probably wasn't the sensiblest option given I've not been out on Biancha since the epic bike ride in Sept. So decided to do the top section of the hill, out 45mins and back. It was a really really nice ride. So nice that when I got back to my car I put the bike back inside and headed down to the lake for a quick 4k... so having not done any tri specific training since oh... quite sometime I ended up doing just under a 2hr brick!

Here's some pretty picture around the lake I took, first from up by the car park and then down by the lake whilst out on the run -I needed the odd rest from running ;o)



I stayed down in Exeter as the hockey girls were down playing a cup game today and I said I'd give them some support and encouragement from the sidelines. Unfortunately their squad was somewhat depleted and I ended up being the 12th player and so the only sub. I say sub in the loosest possible form as I've not played that level for best part of 3 years and am not anywhere near being able to now. So I gave the team explicit instructions that no-one was to get injured or decide they needed a rest as I had no intention of going on. Unfortunately they didn't entirely listen so I came on for a cameo performance (for want of a better word) for about 10-15mins of the second half. Hate to say it but I did enjoy my little run out but I think that is it it again for hockey though. I love playing but unfortunately my back doesn't really (didn't play yesterday because my back was so sore from last week), and besides I'm really keen on the 70.3 next year and I'm a bit fearful if I carry on my back will get worse and it'll hinder my kick off for training in December.

It's a new month and now time to get planning for next year.... hurrah for that ... and thoughts on that a bit later!

Oh and one last thing... Congratulations to Paula Radcliffe on her win in the NY Marathon today... I mean wow... the woman only gave birth in January of this year!! She is a running machine!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Half Marathon race report!

OK OK so what's a few weeks between friends? I know my race report is l-o-n-g overdue and where have I been... humm so my laptop which I thought was a little sick is in fact terminally ill. Actually it's past that - it's DEAD! So I've ordered a new one which for some reason (probably the yellow colour), Dell can't deliver for another couple of weeks. So I'm stuck on the upstairs PC. That's my excuse anyhow. I've got to go and pick up the old laptop from the PC medics and figure a way of getting out the old hard drive and backing up the files or all those training record from the last year have gone, and we all know how much I like graphs and reports and stuff ;o).. I have never done a backup on my laptop - yes v naughty!.

Anyhow - the race report (slightly abridged as memory has faded!)

Pre-race:
Due to the post strike in the weeks before the race we all got emailed to come early to the venue to re-register and pick up numbers etc. I found out the week before that a friend was also running so we arranged to save on car parking spaces and travel down together, with the wonderful Kirsty-Dawn being the chauffeur for the day (lucky as driving back would have been interesting for me and my poor legs). So I left my house for the short car journey to Kirsty's at about 730am - the race wasn't starting till 10 but we knew carparking was limited and suspected it to be a bit manic with the whole registration thing. We got to Henley at about 8, a lovely day, blue skies, little wind and very fresh (read quite cold), pretty much perfect conditions! Got a parking space ok, and had little queues for registration. All that was left to do after that was to visit the porta-loo's several time for nervous bladder syndrome (NBS)! Once registration was done we headed over to the start/ finish area where we met up with another friend, Sarah, who was manning a charity tent. This is where we dumped bags, stuck on numbers and thought about warming up.This is the Thames Hospice "team" running either the half marathon of the 10k "fun run". Hadn't planned to be running for the Hospice and certainly didn't have any sponsorship but as they had a spare vest I put it on, better to have some advertising then none. Sarah - if you're reading this I've not washed the vest so you can have it back and also I'd like to give you some "sponsorship" money.... this is me pre-race... the nervous slouch in full view... do you think my thighs look big in those trackie bottoms?!?

Before we knew it (after the usual extremes of phaffing around), the race announcer was calling us to the start line, about 2000 competitors - exciting! Karen (my other friend who was running) and I had a little chat about not getting carried away and starting off to fast, but to take things nice and steady, she was hoping to go sub-2, I was hoping to survive and thought 2:15 was doable.... iPod on, Garmin on, and away we went!

Race Report:
So I started off around the field, grinning like a lunatic at the thought that the next time I do this distance it's likely to be after a 1.9k swim and 90k bike... I must be mad!!

Mile1:
The first mile saw us run back through Henley town centre which was really nice, first time I've seen a crowd like that on a race really. Really exciting, although everyone else did seem to be running past me! The cars in the town centre were stopped, so that was quite fun running past and around them. Over the Thames we went and turned left along a fairly narrow country lane. Now I had my Garmin on a run 10mins , walk 1 interval setting and honestly paid no attention to HR or speed... so it came as a bit of a surprise when I got to the first mile in sub 9mins!! Should have been at about the 10min marker! Thought "OOPS" so much for starting slow and not getting carried away! So I carried on until I got my count-down bleeps on the trusty Garmin when I stopped and stretched out hammies, quads and calf.... then walked a bit until the beeps again!

Miles 2-6:
This really was beautiful. We continued up the lane, which was slightly undulating and at times quite crowded, before at about mile 3 we dropped back on to the Thames tow-path and headed back towards Henley. It was great, running past some guys in canoes on the river by the weir, other people rowing down and up the river. Really really lovely. We couldn't have had clearer skies, no wind, just perfect. I carried on my run 10, rest 1... the format of the rest period was always a stop and stretch followed by short walk and start again, sometimes starting up before the rest was over. I found this really helped break up the run nicely. I hit the 10k marker in under an hour I think (haven't yet downloaded my garmin to know for sure), which I was pretty pleased with. This first 6miles felt good, fairly easy and very enjoyable! Once we got back down to Henley it was back over the bridge, around the one way system back towards the start. More crowds in Henley, including Kirsty who was the official photographer for us too!Here's the picture of me coming back through Henley... Kirsty obviously thought I was running faster then I was and snapped the man infront of me as I hadn't quite got to her yet! Hopefully you can see through that I was still enjoying myself!! :o).... Now do you think my thighs look big in this picture?

Miles 7-9.5: Oh the pain! After the relative flatness of the course for the first 7 to 7.5miles we were unprepared for the "hill".... OMG! Now I knew it was coming, and I knew it would probably be horrid... but it was completely NASTY! It'll be interesting to see exactly how slow I ran up the darn thing! It went up, gradually at first then progressively steeper for a-g-e-s. Alas my Garmin inspired rest interval did not coincide with the worst parts! At one point I did thing "sod it I'm going to have to walk", was just about to stop "running" and start to walk when this guy said it was only 100m more till the turn in the road - so I couldn't stop then could I... so I carried on running to find the bend wasn't quite the end, but at least I could see it when I hit the bend! Finally made it up to the sound of cow-bells... don't they usually have those in the tour-de-france?! Anyhow, it was a great gesture by the family who were ringing them as did make everyone know we were at the summit about to head down hill. I think one of the things which inspired me to get up the hill was the knowledge that at some point between miles 8 and 11 I'd see my Mum and Brother ... kept seeing people in the distance thinking it was them, getting there and realising it wasn't got me to carry on to the next set of people who were scattered on the course cheering.

Miles 9.5-11: So I thought the uphill was steep.... but nothing compared to the gradient of the down hill section! The choice here was to run against gravity (ie break on the hill), or lean forward and run with it. Most people were breaking, which I did try to begin with but figured this would jar my aching thighs too much and besides when gravity's on your side why not use it.... so off I went, like a child running down a hill for the first time my legs were in danger of not keeping up with the rate of descent - talk about almost out of control!!! But it was really really quite amusing and I did overtake a hell of a lot of people! So what that my toe nails were in tatters after! Lucky there was only one sharp bend to deal with, I just avoided running headlong into a hedge!
This is me approaching the water station at about 10.5 miles, I didn't realise but this is still slightly down hill. I saw Mum and Bro at the side of the road so came out of the crowd of runners to give them the opporunity for a photo and also the biggest sweatiest hug! It was fantastic to see them there! I had to run off quickly post-hug as I did come over all quite emotional!

Miles 11-13: This is where things become a little hazy and also where my right hammy was trying to cramp. I think I was now in the "let's just finish this" zone. We came out of the countryside onto a path which went down a dual carriageway back towards Henley and the finish. This bit of village/ road being called "The Fairmile", a very old road.... Well I have to say there was nothing "fair" about it, and as for a mile - huh! It was long, straight and went on for an eternity! Luckily one of the gym instructors and warned me about it, telling me you've just got to keep your head down and get it done. It was like something from a horror movie or nightmare - everytime I looked up I had got no closer to the town! Agghhhhhh! It was around mile 12 that Garmin told me to stop and stretch - which hammy certainly needed but in so doing I was risking a cramp starting up running again.... well a girl whom I had spent the whole of that hill leap-frogging (I was using a slow steady tortoise strategy, she was using a hare-stop-hare-stop strategy), anyhow as she passed me she yelled "this is no time to stop and stretch now!".. and I thought you know - she's right. So I lumbered on (which is what it felt like my now), with her about 15m ahead of me.... and it was then that my competitive spirit kicked in - I didn't want her to beat me!! So, inspired as I was, I managed to not get dropped off too badly... we finally (finally finally), reached the end of the not-so-fairmile and turned left heading back out of Henley towards the start/finish!

Mile 13 to 13.1: As we turned back towards the field and the finish tunnel I dug in deep and found a spurt, which turned into a sprint (well as fast as I could muster, and believe me I'm not fast even when I'm fresh)! Alas the girl also sprinted to the line and guess what - we crossed it at the exact same time.... I did look a bit of a mess:
I'm not sure I can thank Kirsty-Dawn enough for taking that one ;o) ... and quite frankly I'm not sure why I'm posting it. The girl that legged it in with me is off to the right and I'm sure looks worse then I do (yeah right!)... Still we're all friends here aren't we.... now be honest - my legs do look big in those tights don't they ;o)

So I gave it my all a the end and finished in 2:10:21... FLIPPIN BRILL! I was well stoked up with the time and didn't really expect that! And guess what - I beat that girl by 45secs per the chip time - turned out she was ahead of me when the race started! Not that I'm competitive - in fact thinking about it I needn't have sprinted at the end - damn!
I think that's Sarah's hand given me a pat on the back at the end! Boy was I knackered!

Post-race:
Well Karen finished in 1:57 something, which she was really pleased with - so we celebrated with a pot of jelly which they were handing out at the finish! Big thanks to Sarah who held my towel in the field as I got changed afterwards! Now that's a true sign of a caring friend if you're prepared to do that for someone!.... Although to be fair I'm not sure she'd do it again having discovered how sweaty and stinky someone gets after such an event! LOL! Big thanks to Kirsty "David Bailey" Dawn for the photos and transportation! Huge thanks for Mum and Bro for making it out to be on the course. My toes have recovered (in terms of pain), but am fully expecting to loose 4 nails in the coming months - I'll remember to blog that event when it happens ;o) This was a great and memorable event - I'm already hoping I'll be fit, willing and able to do it again next year. No longer a half-Mary virgin!

Monday, October 15, 2007

2:10:21

2:10:21 = yesterday's half mary time..... Happy!

But sore!

The race "plan" was to run 10mins then stretch, walk, run (upto 1min break) then run again. Figured I'd average a 11min mile doing this.... imagine my shock when I went through the 1mile marker sub 9mins... DOH! Still carried on and stopped at my alloted 10min intervals throughout.

I'll write a bigger blog about the event (currently having laptop issues - ie it seems to have blown up so am doing this from the ol' PC upstairs having dusted it down!), but suffice to say it was a wonderful wonderful event. Loved every minute (bar the 10mins it took me to climb that hill - which was incidently pure evil)..... and perhaps I didn't quite love the last mile as I was beginning to suffer a bit then (hydration strategy... whoops what's that again ... humm).

Oh how my toes suffered.....
Two black and two blue toe nails (the ones next to each big toe are black and the middle ones are blue)... but at least it was symmetrical (I know you enjoyed that picture didn't you?!?!!....oh ok... maybe not!)

And now the rest of me is sore today - pretty much all over - but I think I'm recovering ok... just a shame I've got a nightmare week at work this week. Into London today, perhaps Weds and Thurs and tomorrow I drive to Manchester via a meeting in Coventry... not sure how the hammies are going to like sitting in a car for 3+ hours each way.... hummm!

Still I am VERY PLEASED with the time :o)..... In fact so pleased I think I may go and get myself a beer - that is a good supplement to take to aid recovery isn't it?!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What not to do.....

What not to do in the last 10 days before your first ever half marathon;

1. Run 10miles followed by a full game of hockey less then 24hours later.
Not to be recommended as legs take a bit of a battering (both from stick/ball/ oppo as well as from repeatitive motion on the ground). They will take more then 4 days (and counting) to feel normal again

2. Live in a country with a nationwide postal service who have two 48hour strikes during this period.
This leads to a rearrangement of registration information. Rather then numbers, chips etc arriving in the post all competitors (> 2000 for half marathon and fun run combined) are to report early on the day to register and get new numbers/ chips, sure to be chaos!

3. Attend a staff meeting, despite the fact it's your new bosses first one, where one (or more) of your colleagues evidently have a bad case of the dreaded lurgy.
This leads to the risk of potential infection - why do that to yourself - either arrange to dial in on conference call or ensure there are adequate isolation facilities in the meeting for lurgy carriers.

4. Decide it would be a good idea to attend the annual bike show in London the day before the race (this is a planned activity, obviously anticipated to happen this Saturday)
The danger here is not only one to the wallet but undue time on feet less then 24hours prior to the big one - see also point 1 above for stupidity of such type of activity.

At least I have not had the opportunity to get drunk (yet!) and thus have a hangover ;o)

Now in answer to some comments from my last blog;

Wes: Yes I am an official retired (just out of retirement for 2months only) field hockey player. Sort of hung up my stick prior to busting my hand in January, but have been drawn back into it for another final swan-song as a result of watching a few games since September.... and how do you like the pretty picture my garmin has drawn of my first half running around last Saturday? And just FYI I was playing sweeper infront of the back 3 defending the goal to the left. Obviously I got a bit carried away a few times trying to score ;o)


As for just cricket and football (good use of the word, glad you did not say soccer), I see you have managed to forget that little subject of RUGBY - would that be because the US did not make it!?! ;o) .... and yes we are all (at least I'm sure 95% of the nation) still a little stunned having seen off the Aussies in the quarter finals last Saturday. The French game on their home soil this Saturday is going to be a good 'un!

Chad: Field hockey, kinda like ice except less body contact, more players on each side on the pitch (11) and no barriers (oh or ice)... and a ball rather then a puk! Surface usually astro, preferably water based or more likely nasty old sand base (good example of which is above).... Oh yeah and the goals are bigger! Umm oh and you can rotate subs and you can get a sin bin type of punishment thing.

Best of luck in your race ....Cactus Cha Cha isn't going to know what's come past them..... I am so jealous of your run time!!


Jules:
My northern, fake Scottish, friend..... ;o)..... oh and less of the "it's sunny in Glasgow" already - you've gotta get the sun once a year!! ... where was I... Oh yes thanks for the race info - think we all have got an email from the race director - but cheers anyhow. As for the course profile..... ummm... yes heard about the hill.... here's the course profile if you'd care to take a look;

http://www.goodrunguide.co.uk/ElevationGraph.asp?RunID=103&RunType=A&HillEmphasis=True

A nice 1.5mile "steady" climb... .at the 8 mile mark... hummm my tactics for this will revolve around caffeine, music, the mantras "what doesn't kill you makes you strong", and "embrace the hill", and not looking up. Having said that I think I may try and drive the hill prior to Sunday just to see exactly how bad it is!

As for pacing/ plan target.... haven't finally decided on this yet. I don't want to go as slow as I went last Friday for my 10miler as that was, at times, uncomfortably slow although I never actually got out of work once until the last mile when I blatted it for home. In my mind I think I'm likely to still do a run/ walk strategy with running 1.5k and walking 1min (this will take me to a mile most likely)..... rather then setting a pace as such I think I'm going to go with something like my mid aerobic HR (at least what I assume that to be), making sure I keep to the lower side of the zone for the first 6 miles. There's no fuel on the race just water stops so am running with my little race belt with a bottle of hydration/ fuel in it and a couple of gels for good measure. Once I've done the first 1hr 15 I'll just suffer till the end, need to ensure I have good music on the iPod! As for time....... I expect to finish in less the 2hr 30 even with run/ walk. If I don't it will be because I've picked up an injury or something. I'll be really happy to come in under 2hrs 15.... eventually (but not this race) my aim is to get nearer the 2hr mark, but that is definitely not on the cards for Sunday (unless the course is about a mile or 2 short!!!!)

TJ - my house still stinks of paint - every time I open the front door and come in I get a right ol' wiff of it up the nose.... I'm hoping it'll go away soon!!!! ... Oh and great 5k ... WINNER!

.... Now there's something missing from this blog... Oh yes - training!... Now obviously I'm tapering - quite how you do this when you've not been building is beyond me ;o) ... anyhow... the week so far;
Monday (am): Gym swim - 1500m 45mins drills and easy. Followed by 15mins in hydro pool to try and heal my hurting legs ;o)
Tues (am): X-trainer - not wanting to punish my still weary legs by pounding the streets I decided a 30min x-trainer session was in order followed by 15mins of stretching. I think this was a good idea as got my legs moving again and the blood flowing and I certainly needed to stretch out.
Today (pm): 45min Body-balance course. This is part of the "what needs to be done" over the next few weeks. A great class, Tai-Chi, Yoga and Pilates... I didn't know I could stretch into those positions.... alas I think you're then supposed to balance... hummmm

Rest of the week plan is to have another x-training session and another swim, oh yes and visit the annual bike show up in London on Saturday!!! I'm not going to start my "light weights" until at least next week as I think, if I did start now, I'd be adding that to the list of "what not to do" ;o)...... Right "Heros" has started on TV and what better way to relax ....!!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

How to spend your holiday....

Take 5 days off work and what could you do with your time?

- Jet off to a nice beach and sit in the sun for a week?
- Find a mountain retreat for fresh air and some r&r?
- Take a course in something you've always wanted to do?
- Find a Tri-camp to go to, meet some new friends whilst training away?

or

- Stay at home and paint your doors?

Hummmmmmmmmmm

A week later and I'm asking myself "why didn't I take any of the options 1 through 4".... Yes I spent a week on the internal doors. They were a nasty deep dark stained brown wood and now they're lovely shiny and white! But talk about underestimating the job in hand, I didn't quite anticipate 5 coats of paint on the doors downstairs and 4 coats upstairs (which included the banister and skirting down the stairs). So all in all that was ... err 40 doors (sides) painted and stairs/ banister on top.... Is it any wonder that by the time I got to Friday I couldn't face another layer and slept (ok so the sleeping could have been down to being overcome with fumes!!! LOL)

Still - despite the fact that one day in I thought "why didn't I just get someone to take the doors away and dip them" - why do these ideas come too late - I am very pleased with the end result. The only thing remaining is to attach the new handles and take some "after" pictures. The house is a whole lot brighter as a result and I'm just wondering why on earth I haven't done this sooner!! So, ok not a terribly relaxing or inspiring week off work - but I'm pleased with the choice (although if you had asked me whilst I was applying layers 5/4 last Thursday I'd have probably just grunted!!)

Oh what else of that half-mary training I hear you cry.....

Well last Sunday (as in the end of Sept not the one just gone), I did decide to ditch the 10k race and did a LSR. Definitely the right decision as the half is more important then doing a haphazard 10k. Managed 15k in about 1hr35, started off easy HR at low aerobic then second half at a bit of a faster rate..... the last k hurt but still ticked of a 9ish miler which I wanted to do that week. That then set me up for the week just gone. Managed a short trot out Tuesday, just 4.3k, my legs were sore to begin with but they soon eased out. Then Friday night I convinced myself I needed to go longer and get 10miles in before the half mary... humm.. so off I went on a 6min walk/jog warm-up before 9*1mile reps (very easy, HR <148) with a 1min walk break. Upshot was lots of pain my about mile 7, binned the walk/ run thing and did the final mile about 2mins faster then the previous 8 just to get it all done!!! In total I clicked in just over 10miles (about 16k)..... Needless to say I and my legs were toast afterwards. Put this down to several things;
1. Only 5days since last LSR
2. Went for an hour long walk beforehand
3. It was late - didn't get out until 1915

And just like my legs hadn't had enough punishment the next day (Saturday just gone), I had agreed to play hockey (yeah I know I gave that up last December right? Wrong - more on that later). So Saturday lunch saw me (trying) to run around a hockey pitch with a stick in my hand!! Mad muppet!!! Have not been able to walk properly since! LOL.... so I have 6 days to completely recover before the half mary this sunday! OMG! At this stage I'm fully expecting it to hurt like hell and possibly I'll have to walk more then I intend - that's what comes of not sticking to a plan. Still I am looking forward to the event as it's my first half and in some sick sort of way I'm even beginning to enjoy the long runs - so roll on Sunday (well Sunday afternoon if I were to be honest and a nice hot bath post-event!!!)

So why this hockey thing then? Humm well I've watched a few games in September and figured I could play up to December and it won't get in the way of next seasons goal as prep-training isn't scheduled to start till December with Week 1 happening at the beginning of the New Year. So I'll count one game of hockey as a kind of speed/ fartlek session of running in my schedule.

Which takes me nicely to my "schedule" for the next couple of months. So obviously things are geared up for next Sunday, but subsequent to that the idea is to have two sessions a week of;
- swimming (club on Wednesday + one at gym)
- bike (one on Sunday + one other, turbo or gym spin)
- run (one Saturday (hockey) + one LSR during week)
then in addition 1 to 2 sessions of;
- body balance/ yogalates etc for core work
- strength training

So nothing too regimental but an outline of what I want to achieve. The idea being;
- I keep the swim ticking along (may get a endless pool/ camera session sorted for some more specific coaching/ correction)
- Keep my LSR up to a regular 1 to 1.5hrs
- Get back on biancha
- Get my core and general strength to a better place then it is now (won't be hard as both non-existent!)
All of this so when I hit the more structure prep phase in December I'm already in the swing of things! :o)

I think that sounds like a plan!

Oh and I've got that little thing of changing my blog name - can't exactly say I'm "starting to tri" anymore given I'm a season down :o) More on that one later, along with the before and after pics!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cat and Dog!

Humm... I've been dog sitting my parent's dog for the last 24hours... Needless to say the cat has not been impressed! The dog, "Tootes" is a x colley and lab and really cute and fairly obedient. And scared of cats it seems! So poor Muffin has been doing the cat "creep" trying to blend into the shadows as he passes her, despite the fact she'd run up the walls if he actually got close. Poor Mogey, like he hasn't had other things to stress him out the last couple of weeks. Still she's going to be picked up later today so the cat will be a happy boy again with the house to himself!

I'm thinking of changing my plans for the weekend. I was intending to do a 10k race tomorrow but given I've not done my LSR yet for the week I may have to ditch the race for 1.5hr slow run.... hummm.... Didn't get the LSR run as planned on Thursday (morning or evening) due to the fact I came down with a bit of an upset tum. Thought initially that this down to a mild bout of food poisoning (I am that good a cook ...lol)... but actually have decided it was just a bit of a bug given how washed out I was yesterday. So I'm not going to bike, swim or run today either but still want to get my LSR in for the week. Think if I did the 10k it would probably be more stressful on the body (as there's no way I'd not race the race!) then running slower for longer.

What do you think? I've got 2 weeks till the half mary and at this stage I think getting the hours on the legs and in the shoes is more important then racing.

It's nearly the end of my random month off of any sort of routine training and poor diet... and the stars are saying it's time to get back into the swing of things... here's an extract from my horoscope today:
"Still, with physical Mars now in your 6th House of Health, it's also a smart idea to improve your diet and exercise regimen at this time."

LOL !!!

So October, obviously I've got the half Mary - and given how much I'm beginning to love running again I'm really looking forward to it, but the big plan for October and November is to get back into a routine of swim, bike, run leading up to the start of the new ATP in December..... HIM here I come :o) I'll commit by October/ November plan to cyber space in the next week!

OK random blog over - time to shower and change and go watch some hockey! :o)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Keep on running!

Ahh so much to write but so little time... and where to start..... ok ok I know you'll want to know how the cat is..... evidently he is feeling better....When I got up this morning this is what I found in the hallway. Those "things" you can hardly make out in the picture are what was left of the mouse when I got up this morning!!! YUK!

What else....oh yes that little duathlon thing I did on Saturday.... talk about "emotional" in places! 5.5k x-country run, two laps of 6k on the mtb and then another 2k! This was a little bit more difficult then I had anticipated but was ouddles of fun dispite this!! Managed to convince a mtb buddy of mine to do the thing too.... so my personal objective was to try and not get too whipped on the bike section by her!!! The whole thing turned out quite good in the end as we actually finished at the same time!... and I did get truly whipped by both the bike course and my buddy on it... lucky for me I got a good enough head start on the first run and caught up on the second! Still it was an unexpected race and a great laugh... Oh and there's that little thing of coming joint third in my age group... not that there were loads of us in the age group but still 3rd is 3rd :oD. So I celebrated by trying to drown myself in Guinness whilst watching the rugby on Saturday afternoon... at least we won that game!

Needless to say (after my Guinness drowning attempt) I rested up on Sunday ;o)

I have got back on the proverbial treadmill a bit this week and been for a couple of runs which have also, in the first instance particularly, been entertaining. So let me paint you the scene.

Monday morning I was still in bed listening to the wind howl outside and thought about getting up for a run wondering if it was raining with that wind..... then the cat arrived, did a four paw landing on the white duvet to announce that it was indeed raining - a lot..... soggy moggy! EUH! So I got up donned some running tights, a t, a shower proof jacket and a cap and off I went. You know there are times I don't mind running in the rain, in fact I do quite enjoy it - is that masochistic? Anyhow I was in one of those moods - happy to be alive! As soon as I stepped out I realised it must have really come down a bit earlier as the drains were back-flowing and there were an awful lot of puddles in the road. So off I continued on my merry way when the inevitable happened. Yep. A car got me. Not hit me, but got me with a puddle. A head to toe soaking!! It was like running through a wall of water! Now, given the obviously good mood I was in I didn't let it faze me and did actually find it quite amusing (after I had muttered a 4 letter expletive)!!! Lucky my shower proof jacket was pretty good so it was just my legs, heads, hands and feet that were truly soaked, my trainers have not yet dried out! Still I carried on in my happy way and completed a 35min, easy jog. Very good start to the week! :o) But I bet you don't realise (at least that driver didn't), that you can get fined ouddles of pounds and points on your license for soaking a pedestrian??!!!

Now, as we're at quarter end at work things have been a tad busy, so I headed out for my second run of the week this morning, nothing doing on Tuesday. Fortunately it was dry if a little on the "OMG it must be winter approaching" cold side when I headed out. Another slow and easy jog, this time for 45mins.

And what awaits around the corner in this month of no focus, low fitness maintenance and beer??!... Humm yes I thought what better way to end the month then doing a 10k race! So that awaits for Sunday, and at least I'll post a PB as I've never done one before :o) Oh and more running as gotta get a longer one in to boost me on to that way to the small thing of a half mary in a few weeks. Yipppeee-deeeeee-doooooo! :o)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A quick blog

Cat Update:
Muffin the moggy has pretty much stopped sulking, although the whole tooth paste thing is interesting. You see I've got to get it in his back teeth and although he likes the taste he doesn't really like a finger full of it shoved in the side of the mouth. Still we haven't had a real falling out over it yet, so far he's pawed my hand away rather then clawed it - so we'll see how this continues!! Other then that the tooth extraction site looks good and he's now on his new "dental" biscuits - yum yum!

Run update:
This week hasn't gone too bad, already blogged my Tuesday run. Then made it out for long-slow-run Thursday morning. An hour and 12 mins, which is 15mins up on last long run, although at v easy 9.2kmph (avg). All done with avg hr 148 which is just at the top of my easy zone - so all good with that :o)

Swim update:
Err well made it to the pool yesterday morning for the first swim since Newbury tri at the very beginning of September..... needless to say it has hard!! Still I did 1.9k in 50mins as a mixture of drills, sprints and cruises! Had better make sure I keep going or I'm really going to start losing some form!!!! So once to twice per week even if it's a recovery swim should be built in to my half-mary schedule!

Bike Update:
Have not done any of this since the epic ride last Sunday.... but have bike plans for the weekend so no bother there really

Today:
Ahhh yes - just this little thing of an off road sprint duathlon that I've entered at the very last minute!! So that should get me a tempo run in (well 2 actually) and a bit of mtb fun! It's "only" a sprint so 5k - 12k - 2k... should be entertaining at least ;o)

Right - quick blog over, gotta get my gear sorted and get down to the race!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Poor cat!

My cat is in a right old grump with me :o(

Poor Muffin (the cat for the uneducated) has been a bit off his biscuits of late so I took him to the v*t last Friday who confirmed a case of gingivitis and therefore another trip for a bit of a dental polish and stuff.

Hummm, so Monday morning I had a fight getting him into the basket again. Suffice to say he was most unimpressed about being in that thing again and another visit to the v*t...... poor poor Muffin!

I left him, worried like a worried parent and went to work. Got a comedy call from the vets; comedy that it transpired Muffin had fought his corner some what and put up a bit of a fight when they tried to get some bloods pre-op. The v*t said he had some sort of gum disease (the cat not the v*t), which I felt awful about but said that the teeth so far were fine!.... Until an hour later when he phoned me back to say he had had to take one out!! :o(

So I went to pick the cat up and got a full briefing from the vet... apparently I shouldn't feel bad or guilty as this is one of those diseases older cats just get. Hummm... Still I got him in the basket and headed home.

I've spent the last couple of days trying to make things up - tuna, special cat food, cat milk and the like - he's not allowed any biscuits just yet, not that I think he minds.

Now the thing with all of this is as part of his treatment is to brush his teeth - totally unlikely don't you think? So the vet dispatched me with some cat tooth paste...... and this morning Karen + Muffin + paste = MESS.... now he didn't attack me, but he didn't really want my finger full of paste in his mouth either (well would you when it's poultry flavoured?)..... so I kind of got some paste in but I admit the majority ended up around his mouth, on his whiskers, on his chin, down his paws - I even think I got some in his ears..... is it any wonder he gave me some evil stares??!! ... Still he did strangely seem to like the taste of it and as I got some on his teeth I think I'll consider this a success!!! :o) ... although he still isn't really talking to me... and he definitely won't be come Thursday when I have to take him back to the v*t!!!

Oh I guess I'd better blog my training ummm... well as I am training for a half Mary I did manage to get out yesterday for a nice steady 7k in about 41mins.... really nice lunch-time run with a colleague around the woods and lake near work. Just what I needed after that monster bike ride on Sunday, my legs actually felt better after - phew!

Another run tomorrow I think - over the hour this time but at very easy pace (less then 10kph)

Right it's time for "heroes" on TV and as I think I'm beginning to understand what's going on I think I'm going to watch it! Tally-hoooooooooooh!

Monday, September 17, 2007

How did that happen?

I'll keep it brief as I'm still in shock.....

Got an invite from Leanne for a 60k ride in the hills around Henley-upon-Thames with an offer of a roast dinner after who was I to decline such hospitality, despite the fact I've never gone 60k before and the last "long" ride I'd done was London Oly at the beginning of August.

So off we set yesterday (Sunday) afternoon - Dan (much acclaimed super hero from previous blogs) leading the way..... it was when we were at 45k and the bottom of another monster hill that he said "well ladies - I think we're about half way"..... and then we climbed (again!)... with absolutely no getting out of the saddle allowed!

and as I'm playing with my Garmin - here's the route and the gradient.....

We climbed over 1.1km .... and we didn't get out of the saddle once!

At least the downhills were enjoyable - if a little scary, trusty Garmin says max speed was 60kph... which is about 40mph... and yes I was on the brakes big time and hoping I was going to stay seated!

Average HR was 122 so comfortably Zone 2 which is exactly what I need for half-ironman. So apt "punishment" for not being able/ ready for the half-mary I should have been doing ;o)

In summary - I'm in a state of shock that I've done 85k - wasn't planning that for some time. Managed 4.5hours in the saddle - longest ever by 2.5hours ... nothing like racking it all up slowly (not!).... so all I need to do is another 5k, oh that after 2k of swimming and before 21k running... but hey there's loads of time to go right?!

What of the rest of last week? Well no swimming, 1 session of MTB riding (1.5hrs), 2 runs (30mins and 60mins) and 1 game of hockey umpiring. Not a bad, if completely unstructured, week! :o)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Coincidence or fate?!

So do you believe it fate or just coincidences which can happen?

Here's what happened on Thursday.....

Was traveling up to Durham (the far north of England for those who don't know), for the day for a work meeting so got up nice and early, leaving home at 6am for taxi ride to the mainline station. Got up to London and schlepped across to Kings Cross getting there 0730, 30mins before my train was due to depart at 8am..... Decided to see if I could wing it and get into the first class lounge... well I had first class tickets, albeit cheapo fares so unlikely to be let in - but you if you don't ask you don't get right?!

So the conversation ensued with the lovely old security man;
"Can I come in, I have first class tickets"
"Can I see them"
"Of course - here you go"
"I'm very sorry young lady" (luv 'im as my friend from Devon would say - how very sweet calling me young) "but you can't use these tickets for the lounge"
"Oh"
"I'm really sorry it's just the people who pay a full first class fare get a bit sensitive, but there is another lounge you can use"
"Do they have a toilet in, or do I have to use the public conveniences?"
"Well really you should use the public ones, but if you promise to be quick" " you can use the ones here"

Humm.. so I did blag my way in but only to use the facilities!! Still saved me a whole 20p and they were far cleaner ;o)... and I am getting to this coincidence thing I promise.

So off I trotted (not literally I hasten to add) and I found a ladies purse in the ablutions. Not in the bowl or anything yuk like that I hasten to add, but on the side by the sink. Hummmm so being the upstanding citizen that I am (thanks Mum and Dad) I wanted to make sure I did the correct thing by whomever had left it. So I first looked in to see if there was any photo id... didn't rummage or anything but immediately saw it was pretty full, cash, credit cards etc but no immediate ID. So hastily closed it (feeling guilty for having even looked in it!) and proceeded to leave. There was one lady in the lounge so I asked her if it was her purse - no. So went back out and handed into the the nice gentleman doing security who'd let me in.

... and that's where you'd normally expect this story to end...

So after that, met up with my work colleague, found which platform our train was going from and boarded. Coach L, seat 33.......... So on we got and sat in our reserved seats; a simple two seater with the seats opposite, perfect! Until we realised we were sitting in the seat numbers for our return journey - should have been in Coach L, 16.... so off we went, found the new seats and found them to be two next to each other opposite two guys - not so good for business conflab. Hummm. So my work colleague looked to see if there were another 2 seats, not reserved for travel, free in the first class coaches.... Yep, back behind us in Coach M. So we made camp there and settled down for the 3.5hr journey.

About 30mins into the journey a lady sitting on the 4 seater to my left started looking for something, the lady next to her helping her out. They searched the table, under the table, got passengers to move and searched under their feet. I don't know what got me to say anything, so I asked the helper what they were looking for. Yep - you guess it a purse. So I asked the little old lady who had lost the purse if it was brown, so big, with a golden clasp... and you never guess what it was - and this was the purse I had found back at the station!

So what a bizarre coincidence. There are tens of trains leaving Kings Cross between 7:30 and 8:00am, there must have been about 10 carriages on our train and I shouldn't have even been in the carriage I was in, let alone sitting next to this lady! Was this fate or just a coincidence? Bizarre either way! Suffice to say the lady was very pleased when the guard confirmed it was her purse and it was waiting for her back at the station so she could pick it up on her way home that evening! How things work out :o)

What else I hear you cry - what of your training....

....Hummm... maybe more on that later - suffice to say I've decided to have a weekend off next weekend and stay at home and not do the half Mary - have a revised schedule for the October one which I feel more comfortable doing. I think if I were to attempt the one next Sunday I'd be able to finish, but would risk injury (as I'm stubborn once I start there's no way I wouldn't complete it), and I'm simply not up to 2.5hrs run or run/ walk.

OK - that's it for now - there's some people state side racing today which I'd just like to say - KEEP GOING! As I think you're all still racing as I'm blogging and it's nearly time for my bed!

More tomorrow/ Tuesday :O)

OH YES - how could I forget ... WELL DONE Angel..leeky for your first Oly distance today! Paulo and I had a blast shouting "encouragement" and the moment when we surprised you on the run by jumping out of the bushes is still making me chuckle!! Well done!

PS: Just seen Lisa was a finisher in her half-mary - WOOHOO! Well done Lisa! YOU ROCK!! (that is how you Americans say it isn't it?!) :o) and achieving you "A" aim on the way. Really well done!

Now watching out for Tri-Shannon who's on her Ironman dream race today at Wisconsin!