Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here comes 2009!



Some Stats for those desperate to know;

In 2008 I managed to ....

Swim .... 96.20k in 49hours 56mins
{note this is not even 10 races of the Olympic S long distance Swim race of 10k... puts that into perspective!!}

Bike..... 2657k in 117 hours and 36 mins
{cough - I believe this is less then the distance cycled on the tour de France!}

Run.... 701k in 74 hours and 43mins
{So if they were ultra's then this would be about 7?... }

Can't compare to the year before as I was on polar training for part of the year then on sportstracks... I would have thought my mileage (ok kilometres) on everything has increased given I went on to half iron this year just gone.

Still a bit undecided as to my sporting goals for next year... some of this is dependent on my life outside triathlon and those plans have been thrown up in the air recently and not yet landed!! I have some races in the the calendar though, although I suspect the first one (Wokingham Half) is going to be skipped as it's too soon after this illness thingy I'm getting over... like it's 5 weeks away and I've not trained at all for 2!! I've got Reading half though at the end of March and Austria 70.3 is booked - both of which I'm looking forward to :o)

I wonder what else.... one thing for sure the first two months of the year will be very defining for me and likely to help steer the rest!!

I hope you celebrate this year end in style and welcome in the new.... and a big BIG shout out to Eric who is doing some MAD "Across the years" event, started already! Go Eric Go!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Easter Eggs!!!

I'm not kidding.. I have just ventured to the local corner shop for essentials and there on the shelf were Cadbury's cream eggs... Now, although these are not specialist Easter Eggs as such... they are still egg shaped and made of chocolate and generally sell around Easter time. There were also packs of mini-eggs....




On a brighter note... Muffin seems to be in a better mood now he can get to the wound ok.. although he hasn't gone out much (I think he's embarrassed about the lack of fur on the bum end of his tail... he looks a little silly).

On another note... it's been nearly two weeks since I last did any form of exercise... and yes I have had a reasonable excuse I'll give you that... this is the longest non-exercise break since I broke my hand in January 2007!!!

But the good news is I am feeling rested and am hopeful that I may be able to start the new year with a gentle swim or turbo session... I'm a bit fearful of running!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Battle of the "Purr"

All was quiet in the household

The only thing stirring was the lady in the bed.... having woken up just after 4 she was wondering if she'd be able to get back to sleep..

Soros the cat arrived with stealth, a quick jump landing on her head telling her he was there.... he started to purr, started to dribble and was quickly dispatched to the foot end of the bed and so hopped off altogether.

All was dark. All was quiet.

The lady began to drift back to sleep.

Then the bedroom door slowly, softly began to open.

Startled back to full awake the lady turned the bedroom light on to see what monster of the dark was too big to get through the crack in the bedroom door.

Looking down she saw, looking up... big wide eyes, blinkin from the sudden light.


"Muffin - what are you doing" she enquired to the old black cat... "it's the middle of the night and it's not like you couldn't fit through that gap in the door?"

"Meow!" with that Muffin jumped on the bed... how unusual she thought... but then I've been under the weather, maybe he's sensed that and come to keep me company.

She turned the light back off with the black cat barely at the end of her fingertips purring away.

Drifting off again with the sound of purring gently lulling her to sleep the lady became aware of another body in the room, a silent stalker moving around the bed.

She knew what to expect next. With a leap so quiet the other cat arrived on the other side of her and pushed against her and snuggled up tight. And so it began.... as the new arrival started to purr so the big cat on the other side challenged his rival with an increase volume. The sparring continued louder and louder... purr PURR PURRRRR.... until the lady shifted as she finally drifted back off to sleep.

All was dark. All was quiet.

Hummm. So anyhow I got up this morning and Muffin was still acting weird... picked him up - he squealed in a cat rage sort of fashion and I discovered a bump on his tail... ok so he wasn't looking after me last night, no he was feeling unwell. Evidently he's been in a fight and has (ok now had) an abscess on his tail.... it burst as I took him to the vet.. what a stink! Still he didn't like the vet and did scream at her quite a bit as she clipped his fur off but she did manage to get some antibiotics in him (rather her then me).

As for me... well I'm still resting up. Off work until the New Year. But I have colour in my cheeks and I'm feeling like I have a bit more energy, thank fully the ibruprofen and rest seems to be working.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

La sfida è sopra

...which I think should mean "the challenge is over" in Italian (I don't know why I picked Italian to translate to but I thought I would!!)

To keep it brief.... went to the gym on Thursday for a dreadmill session; 1 mile easy, 4 miles tempo (at 8:45) then a mile easy.

Felt sluggish to begin with then got going, felt a bit rough during the first tempo mile and then felt awful so stopped...and walked a bit. hummm... so decided to treat the session as a speed session instead with 1mile on .5mile recovery........................... felt rough again at the end of the next mile. It was at this point I figured all was not well... I know I was running a tempo session but I did feel really well wierd... so walked a bit then tried running again then walked a bit and felt awful... ok so then I stopped.... and then I went for a lay down on the stretch mat....

To keep a long story short I didn't feel much better for some time and went to the docs on Friday who's advised complete rest and ibrofen as he suspects a little ol' viral infection of the tick-tocker or something near it at least... yikes! Still I should feel better in days just need to put my feet up and relax.

So I've told my boss I won't be in and that includes email... life is after all too precious.... and work can wait.

Not sure what this means for the Feb half marathon will just play that by ear as and when I'm up to running again.... my body for now is telling me to rest and rest I shall.

On the bright side of things this should at least give me enough time to wrap my Christmas pressies, and on the downside it means I've missed the last post for my Christmas cards.... so I'll still send them but they'll be late (although to be fair most people will think it a miracle they got one at all as I'm usually mega rubbish at sending them).

Also on the positive front it IS the shortest DAY today..... so from now on I should be getting progressively HAPPIER as we get more sun light (well allegidely but we all know there's generally too much cloud cover to even notice).. so tomorrow I think we get an extra ... wait for it... drum roll.....



DateSunriseSunsetThis day

Dec 21, 20088:04
3:547h 49m 40s

Dec 22, 20088:04
7h 49m 44s

I can't wait ;o)

Needless to say I'm disappointed in how the December challenge has finished but these things happen and I don't see any point dwelling on it... the rest will do me good and I'm sure will put me in a good position to start 2009 with extra enthusiasm!

In case I don't blog again before the big day, I'll just leave you with SEASONS GREETINGS and wish you good will to all of you and your families.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Double quick....

Or not as the case may be....

I had a good day today :o)

For starters my bats have been officially identified by the batman as long eared bats.... which are quite cute so I'm happy with that... I can also now disturb the bat-dung (well clear it up!) and get my Christmas decorations down from the loft! I'm not expecting them back until March/ April time and the best thing to do is put down some disposable polythene to capture the "do". Looks like they roosted well and probably had a family up there (ahhh), usually long-ears roost together about 10 at a time. Next spring will be interesting then!

I did also make it to the gym this evening, first a swim then a body pump class..... I was right with my thinking of swim improvement..... did 5*100m with 25s between and my times were between 1:46 to 1:51 for each 100m.... which I'm very happy with. Looking back two years my 100m time was something like 2:08-2:16 so quite an improvement!

The body pump class straight after the swim was an interesting concept.... let's just say my arms (triceps in particular) and shoulders were crying at me, even with wimp weights on the bar!!!!! LOL!

Challenge plans for tomorrow are undefined, I have a long day trip in with work, at least 3 hours each way and unlikely to be home much before 9pm... I may get something done in the morning if I'm lucky (ok willing!).

That's it for now! Half way through the month and about half way through my challenge sessions (I don't know how I've managed that!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Made off....

Or more like "MADOFF".... great surname for a guy who's just ripped off the banks and your and I's pension funds no doubt... oh the irony.... sorry just watching the news....

So what of the December challenge (I hear you shout)... humm well kinda bad but good news

Twas a busy week last week work and personally it was a bit of a heavy/ emotional week too.... so in essence my relative lack of blogging (ok complete lack of blogging) correlated fairly well with my lack of "challenge".... After double monday I did manage a swim later in the week.... the rest was consumed with work, food, wine or me.... hummm

Got up yesterday morning having given myself a bit of a shake down I decided that I needed to get on track... so I donned my running gear, dug out my off road trainers and headed for the tri-club cross country meet.... Yes I was due punishment for being a lazy sloth during the week... a 5.7mile (very) muddy, (fairly) hilly, (very) cold jaunt in amongst some forest and bracken clad park land... perfect.

... and when I say hilly... there were only a couple (in each lap)... but they were like make-your-heart-feel-like-it's-about-to-pop-outta-ya-throat-steep... yuk... but good for the soul (kinda).

Having gotten thoroughly muddy I then headed home via some friends for a cup of tea (and shed the mud over their carpet... WHOOPS!).

Also went for a swim in the evening... thus making it an amazing three swims in the week.... first three-in-a-week since I don't know when.... I *think* I'm improving, I must remember to take my watch during the next session to time some reps and see.....

Just for good measure I've done a very short 2mile "easy" run this evening (to justify the lemon torte and cream I had!)

Stats updated... gotta get some double days in if I'm going to get the challenge done... I know I've got at least 2 days where I won't be able to do anything so I need to ramp it up to make sure I get to the end of the month with the challenge DONE!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Short double day

So if nothing else I'll be setting a blogging pb this month for most blogs in a month right?!?

Just a shortie as I need to head to the land of nod!

Yesterday was a FABulous day. The Christening went without a hitch (or squeal!) and there were plenty of cup cakes and champagne to go around after! All the kids enjoyed themselves and all the adults had fun (or is that supposed to be the other way around).

December challenges for Sunday = NIL but I was entertaining/ helping to look after kids all day so that ought to count for something!??

So what of today.... to keep it brief. I headed to the gym for a dreadmill session (2 miles easy) and a swim session (something like 950m)... Did both so that's two more down... Hurrah for that :o)

Hope all you guys out there are enjoying your Monday!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Double day 6

Gotta fly (well drive) off to deepest darkest Leicestershire....

So - got up and made it (just, well actually late) for the body pump class...

Got home, assessed conditions and headed over to Swinley Forest for my 6miles "easy" ... not sure a forest hills and trails is ideal for easy but I needed a forest run today (forests are healing for my spirit!)... didn't enjoy the first 45mins... then I came out of the dulldrums - pumped up the volume and binned the "easy" for a storming final 10-15mins!

6 Miles in 1:02 or thereabouts!

Have a great weekend folks - by the time I come back I will be a changed person with additional responsibilities in life!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

This will be short - Day 5

Today = A Bagel day.... an empty bagel day....

Challenges = Zip, zero nadda

Tomorrow will have to be a triple decker! As I'm to become a God Mother on Sunday which will thus mean another day of likely nought in the challenge front for Sunday!!

Said it the blog would be short!

Could've/ should've swam first thing but couldn't seem to wake up.. I blame the late night 5 miler from the night before.

This evening I was out catching up with a friend I've not seen in over a year or so, we had a nice meal out... then went back to where I needed to drop him off and bumped into some other folks so ended up going to the bar for a lemonade (I was driving). So I've had a nice evening, it's great when you've not seen a group of people for a while and you pick back up where you left off, very welcoming bunch of guys. So all was not wasted today - just the December challenge element!!!

On to tomorrow's double or even triple decker then!!

Hope you have a happy friday folks, don't forget to start that Christmas shopping at the weekend!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Err... Yes...another daily challenge report


I'm so good at it!

OK so here's how the day went...

I got up and was pleased to see that there was neither any snow or frost. Good news. The north of England and Scotland were getting blizzards as us southern wuss' were getting a shade of gray!! LOL! To be fair it did look like it had rained at some point over night... anyhow, I was happy as it meant it would be ok for a lunch time run.

So off I set for work.

Now I knew I'd be getting a call somewhere between 12 and 1pm but wasn't quite sure when. Figured I'd go for that run after. Got engrossed in some work and then had to deal with a pokey issue at about 12:15... resulting that when my call came on at 12:30 I was on the phone dealing with said pokey issue and couldn't answer it! Grrrr... still some text comms later and got to the call at 12:45

How on earth is this related to the run I hear you ask...

... well by the time I got off the call it was about 1pm and then I realised my mistake... I hadn't eaten since breakfast and I was STARVING! Prospect of doing a 5 mile interval session on an empty stomach.. no thanks... no bottled it and went and got a sarny instead.

I had been thinking earlier in the morning that I should have aimed for an early run, but there was no peeling me away from my desk today so I missed 11sy run, missed lunchy run too. Tried not to finish too late but it was still way past 6 when I left the office.

Thought - nothing for it I'm going to have to go home, get changed and do the dreadmill thing. YUK!

So got home... phaffed some...

It was 1845... oh no it's not it's 1930 ...WTF? where did that time go!!??

So whizzed upstairs and got changed for the gym

Midway through I thought; "wait a mo, why drive for 15mins when I can just run on the road out and back (which I dislike I always go in a circle) to Wokingham and back, that's 5miles"

So I started changing from inside gear to outside in the cold gear and grabbed my Garmin..... UH OH!

DRAT! DARN! and FONT (as Lisa may say)!

Somehow the thing had come on in my bag and the batteries were flashing flat.. GRRRrrrr

So I plugged it in and watched the end of Eastenders (giving it a whole 15mins would be enough I thought)

.... so I programmed in my run program, got my ipod sorted, wrapped up and off I headed.

Mile 1 was "easy" and it was relatively easy once I had warmed up
Mile 2 was a speed session; managed a 8:18 min mile without dying too badly
0.5 Mile recovery before
1.0 Mile speed, somehow (and I don't know how) managed 8:19min mile (although felt like death at the end of it)
0.5 Mile recovery, mainly wondering what had just happened and figuring I needed to get my gloves back on
1.0 Mile easy home; this started off hard to get in the right pace but frankly after about 3mins I started motoring quite comfortably again (like 10min mile pace)

Did the lot in 48mins on the button for an average of 9:36min mile (I think) which is ok my me

Have realised I need to get a couple of double whammy session days to get ahead of the curve, the December challenge waits for no man (or woman) and I've got a few days off at the end of the month!!

Today I give myself a star, but could try harder (to get the drated run done earlier in the day!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 3

Small steps are better then no steps...

December SWIM #1 has been banked...

Got up early this morning, like dark outside and scrap the ice off the car early... left the house, it was minus 1, got out of the cul-de-sac and it was -2!... so ok it wasn't mega early; I was in the water by 0700... did a 30mins session for 1050m... nothing too strenuous.

But it counts... it's in the bank.

Contemplated a spin class for this evening but was still at work when the first one started, and by the time I left work just before 7pm I was scraping more ice off the car and it was back at minus 2!!! So not on your nelly was I likely to go home then back out to the gym! Brrrrrr!

Tomorrow has a 5mile run in it, a bit harder to be done as 1m easy, 2*[1m PDQ + .5 recover], 1m easy... hopefully we're not going to get some snow so I can do it outside at lunch time otherwise it's the dreadmill.. YUK!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December Challenge - Day 2


Obviously I'm more awake today! Hurrah for that!

OK - so today I've done one little itsy bitsy run.... Now I must confess I am following a running PLAN for the Wokingham Half planned for Feb.

I've got the plan from Runner's World (.uk version), their SMART COACH thing and based it on my 5k TT from the other week. This is pretty good although the pace is a little bit, like on the button... which isn't terribly ideal for running... so I've done some further research (through my fellow bloggers, so thanks very much)... and found my pace range from the geezer called McMillan (see here). So I am armed and ready to tackle my run challenge at least ... smiles all around!

So I'm happy to report that the December Challenge has commenced!

The plan called for 2 miles easy at 10:14 (which is in fact per the McMillan thing a range of 9:53 to 10:23 mins per mile). Now I've not done such easy runs really in previous training (what with tri I tend to mix it up more), and wouldn't normally do something of this length and think it well worth it, but I'm happy to "start" with this as I'm still a bit pooped! AND I need to up my running time's all part of the plan!

In summary 21:22, 2.15miles avg 9:57min/mile. VERY GOOD.... today I give myself a star.

Monday, December 01, 2008

December Challenge Day 1

Workouts = NIL


I landed from the Boston red-eye at 0530! Exited Heathrow Term 5 at 0605, was on the train to Birmingham (boarding at Reading) at 0740. Got home 1630.

Collapsed in a heap of snooze.

Had bagel and soup.

Heading for bed now

Day 2 of December is tomorrow, let's see what progress I can make on my challenge (a good nights sleep will help!!).


Monday, November 24, 2008

December challenge??!!

OK so December the first is like NEXT MONDAY!

So I AM going to set myself a little challenge for the month, after all I'd better stop this "I'm kinda training but not really" mode I'm in as I do have a half Mary in like 10 weeks (or so), another later in the spring time then of course there is the planned 70.3 in late May... hummm

So what challenge can I do

What makes sense AND what is achievable?

So I looked at some blog the other day (I can't remember it and didn't bookmark it.. ops), anyhow it set the challenge of being Iron in December, ie target of swim 2.4miles, bike 112miles and run 26... not all in one go mind, cumulatively over the month.. bet let us not forget that (a) it's winter and (b) there's Christmas and New Year in this month which takes many training days (for me that is!!) off the calendar... so maybe this is not a good challenge to set myself (I think that much cycling is highly unlikely)

OK so what then...

Got a text from Jules at the weekend saying he's renamed December Swimember (or something like that) and said he would challenge himself to swim 16 times in Swimember.. so that's quite a but for Jules (he hates to swim, although he's not such an octopus as he used to be ;o).. much better in fact), but then he can't run as he's just strained his calf... so good challenge for him then. .. would it be for me... hummmmm

So I've looked at my Sportracks data (now that I have a year's worth of data... and I'm rubbing my knees wondering how many stats I can gleen from all that info)... anyhow I've checked out Sportracks to see what I did last year.... so I can check out what I think I may be able to achieve this time of year... and so we have it.....


Swim: "FISHY FISHY FISH"..... 11 Times... minimum 25mins per session
Run: "So I ran and I ran until.. I felt like i was a month away from a half".... 12 Times... minimum 2 miles per session
Bike: "ummm... whatever"... fits around the rest
Body Pump: "Gladiators READY!"... At least 4 classes!

Sound fair? Let me know what you think... and yes I'm concentrating on the run for sure and swim a bit too... Bike may be where I spend the most on a tri but my current goals are getting that 2 hour half marathon time and just getting improvement on my swim technique and I don't think I've got time for everything... humm maybe I should have a minimum number of bike sessions too...????

All ideas are welcome!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes Another one already

OK Folks I know I know - you're simply not used to all this blogging from me... well don't worry I'm sure I won't carry on this pace for much longer!

Anyhow today... so today I was supposed to be doing the run section of an off road duathlon with my MTB friend doing the bikey bit.... this Duathlon was supposed to take place in Kent some 2 hours away (yes well we should have checked the location prior to entering but it did seem a good idea at the time).

Anyhow, due to the inclement weather forecast for the weekend (see previous post to the warning email I received about this)... we kept our eyes keenly on what was forecast to develop overnight.

Hummmm so at 10pm last night having watched the news talk about freezing conditions, snow, blizzards etc etc and then looking at the hourly forecast for the place in question I called my teammate Elaine and it transpired that neither of us thought it a worthwhile use of our day (like 4+hours drive for a very wet and cold experience)... no, nadda, no way... so we binned it last night.. my second DNS of the "season" (assuming April to now counts as the "seasons")

So had a lovely sleep, no alarms nothing... lovely. Even Soros the cat slept quietly on the bed (rather then coming to the pillow end and purring like a steam train and dribbling like a leaky tap). Perfect.

I stirred about 0750 and was just wondering if it was getting light outside and whether it had snowed... then the PHONE (which I had forgotten to switch off and was by my bedside) came to life.. WHAT... who's texting me at this hour... oh that would be Jules up in Scotland confirming indeed there was snow on the ground and in the air so he wasn't riding today! Thanks Jules, like I did tell you you were gonna get it!! ;o)

So I got out of bed to inspect what I had in the way of weather.... a very light dusting of snow and freezing rain to boot... PHEW.. Glad that I hadn't got up before 6am for the drive to the race! Good decision :o)

So what instead... humm well I was thinking of running this morning but the freezing rain put me off so I ventured to the gym and squeezed in a morning body pump class... then the sun came out so I've also been for a mid-afternoon run too..... aren't I good (and I can hear the Angel's sing .....)

Not much sun light to play in though - but at least we're only a month away from the bottom of the bell curve and then, as they saying goes, THERE SHALL BE LIGHT!

On another note entirely... have come across that whole 4th picture on the fourth folder thingy... here's the one on this laptop....
How appropriate! A winter snow picture! ... although I can't tell a story about this as I didn't actually take it! No it was the standard picture that came with this laptop! Wait a mo I'll see what's on the other laptop....

OK so on the YELLOW laptop this is the picture;
I think I blogged this picture before... this was taken in the summer, my darling (soon to be) God son showing me one of the new faces he had learnt how to pull! Lovely!

Poor him though, currently he has his leg in a plaster cast having had a bit of an accident - he is a little bruiser though and tough as nails (at such a tender age) so I'm sure he'll be ok, and hopefully out of the plaster at his Christening!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


So in case you are wondering..... Yes I've just gone a bit blogger mad and posted three other posts...All of which I've been meaning to post but have not had a moment this week to do anything about it!

So in case you're interested, yes there are a couple of posts I've just done and yet I dated these last weekend so you could well have missed them!

They are;
Basingstoke 5K TT
A recap of my epic, PB for 5k last weekend!!

The Man in the Steam Room
A gross account on an incident last weekend!

A rather light hearted (although serious) email about the impending spell of bad weather!!

Happy reading and have a great weekend... for those in the US in case I don't catch you beforehand well HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Yes a few days early but I may not get a chance Thursday :o)

Friday, November 21, 2008


I had to share this with you. We had forecasts for a cold spell this weekend (when I say cold, only about 0/ 32F so not like mega cold or anything)... anyhow - look at this mail I got from our workplace resources people.... they like to be thorough... so just remember.. BE SAFE!

<"OK this is a serious email - I need to read this mail">

"Hi all

Not wanting to be pessimistic folks but looking at forecasts we may have some bad weather approaching. Can we all please be prepared and not get caught out during any extreme cold conditions such as ice and snow or very wet weather or high winds.

Site facilities have significant plans in place with focus on injury prevention and everything will be done as far as is reasonably practicable to ensure your safety and wellbeing. Weather alerts will be received from the Met Office and gritting of the Site will take place when temperatures drop and freezing conditions or snow is expected.

Slip, trip and fall injuries are the most common type of injury that occur during the winter months because of wet, icy and snowy conditions and whilst some result in minor injuries, others could be major with broken limbs. We aim for ZERO accidents so please take extra care and be cautious, especially if inclement weather is expected.

Remember to wear appropriate footwear with sufficient tread to provide a better grip in wet and slippery conditions and remain vigilant at all times. Please don't rush or take short cuts where leaves may have built up making the ground unsafe to walk on. Please report any conditions that you feel are hazardous such as walkways with debris or obstacles so that we are aware and corrective actions can be implemented.

We have good management controls in place but also need to look after our own safety and that of our colleagues so please adhere to these few precautionary measures and remove as much excess water/ice/snow from shoes before entering the building and report any spillages so they can be dealt with promptly.

Please also ensure inspection procedures are carried out on vehicles for safe winter operations and simple measures to check brakes, tyres, wipers, heater/defroster and lights should be done.

Please remain vigilant - BE SAFE

Kind regards"

Now let me make this clear... this came out last night (perhaps to provide some friday night humour?!)... it's now saturday and yes it's a little chilly, but it has also been a glorious day! Yes the weather forecast said it there would be a cold spell and indeed in Scotland I think there are blizzards blowing... but not down here in the south (yet) - and this email only went out to out southern office!

Well thank you workplace resources, I aim to be SAFE this weekend!!.... Knowing my luck I'll now go and fall off my MTB tomorrow!!! ha ha ha!

This person sent a couple of other classic emails earlier in the year - I may did them out and post them!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Man in the steam room

No this is not the title for something dodgey before you begin to wonder!

Having exhausted myself with not just the 5K time trial but also a body pump class later in the day I thought I'd treat myself with a little trip to my Spa... A little bit of relaxation before going out Saturday night was certainly in order.

And so it came to pass... I have the luxury of choice at my Spa; a fitness pool, two other pools, ladies only steam and sauna rooms, another menthol type steam room, a relaxation room and a hydrotherapy tub (which also has cold plunge pool). With such choice and limited time I had to choose wisely..... so after having read the paper in a lounger by one of the pools I went for the steam room which would clear my nose a bit.

Obviously I have to take my specs off in the steam room so opening the door and heading in blind I wasn't too sure if there was anyone in there. As I sat down and my eyes adjusted to the dim light and steam I soon became aware that there was another body in the room towards the back.
And then it happened......

"The body"... did a SNORT... not the sort of laughter snort, no the sort of snort which is rather unpleasant and nasal and throat clearing in nature.

This came as quite a shock... so much so that for a milisecond I did sit there and think "did that just happen?".... and then it HAPPENED AGAIN.... GROSS!!

As my eyes adjusted further to the darkness, steam and lack of vision I became more aware that this was no greek adonis making this rather unpleasant noise, but "the body" was more like jabba the hut in a steam room and then he snorted again

I had been in there barely minutes and was thinking of leaving already - it was no wonder there was no one else in the room!

And with that he (the body) slid off the ledge stood up and stretched..



But relief ...he was heading for the door.

Evidently the poor chap had a cold which is maybe why he was in there in the first place but I'm not sure there was the need to be so vocal with his bodily functions. I sat there and started to think would I catch his lurgy given surely a steam room must be an excellent place for bugs to live in!??!

And with that thought he returned! He'd only gone out for a cup of water. So he came back in splashed down back on the ledge. I've never heard anyone make so much noise drinking water.

And so it came to pass... I got up and left!

The rest of my visit was much more acceptable, some time in the hydro therapy pool (followed by a dip in cold) and a short spell in the relaxation room. Perfect preparation for meeting up with friends and having a chinese! YUM!

Basingstoke 5TT Report (15 Nov 08)

So Saturday morning came (that is Saturday 15th in case you're confused) and I had decided to get myself out of bed early to try and get to one of the free "park runs" one of which I did earlier in the year. As a reminder these are *free* and timed 5K time trial.

Having got up in plenty of time I proceeded to do what I do best and phaff... phaff and phaff a bit more! Suddenly it was nearly 8am and I was still in my dressing gown! Realising I'd better get a wriggle on a managed to slide myself off the sofa and drag my butt back up the stairs... after some more phaffing I finally dragged my sorry arse out of the door questioning my sanity. BUT it was a lovely looking morning and wouldn't I feel great once I had done the TT (at least that's what the Angel on my shoulder was saying, the devil meanwhile kept reminding me how much doing this hurt in April!!).

Got in the car, got TomTom out I kinda knew where Bushy Park was but figured better safe then sorry... and off I set.... and then I looked at TomTom's predicted arrival time... 0905.. OPPS! The TT starts at 0900... I wasn't going to make it... The Angel was disappointed but the Devil was laughing in glee and the prospect of more time on the sofa...

NEVER FEAR - "Isn't there a park run at Basingstoke which is nearer... " I pondered....

So I pulled over, got my web browser on my phone going and sure enough there was and yes, TomTom said I'd be there by 0845.. PERFECT! Angel was happy, Devil had a right old grump on.. and we were off!!

Got there with a good time to warm up, remember last time that although I did warm up I hadn't really got my HR up enough prior to starting. So did some jogging, some stretching, some short sprints, more stretching, sorted out the music and headed over to the start area with about 40 other people. The short briefing done (2.5 laps, a little undulating, different path types. watch out for the leaves) and we were off!!!

I started at the back, then got a bit worried that I wasn't going fast enough... remember by PB from the run in April was 25:42, wanted to see if I could get nearer the 25min mark. The half lap to the finish shoot was down hill then back up through a nice little wooded area, thought I was going ok - check watch... oh TOO FAST... Yikes.... still no time to slow down really, I wasn't so fast that I was going to keel over, first 1k in 4:44... Game on!

Heading past the finish line you soon head off the path and over a football pitch, slightly slippery underfoot, across that and then down hill a bit where we rejoined the path and headed back up the far side of the park, I was at the 2k mark in 9:58 - perfect, had realised my mistake and controlled things a little and was spot on the mark for by 25min 5 k run.... .could I last??

The third k saw me go back past the start line, head back down and back up the hill, I did this in 5:01 so that was still fine but now it was beginning to hurt. The music was doing its job though as I couldn't hear myself breath (although I was gasping believe me!) so plodded on.

The Angel was encouraging me, the Devil was reminding me of the pain of Bushy Park and telling me any minute now I was going to start to feel awful!

And so it came to pass - it was the 3-4k mark where I lost my time of going under 25mins.. I did struggle on this part, and after I finished I remember what I've been told before that this is the point where it's easy to defocus on a 5k race.. and that's exactly what I did. I thought I was doing ok but wasn't really focused on what I was doing..... 4th k time 05:24... DARN!

I hit the 4k mark and kinda knew that I was very unlikely to make the sub 25mins, but still I only had a k to go, the devil was shouting at me to give up.. the Angel was saying "PB PB GO GET THE PB!".... so I got angry with the devil, passed the start point for the final time and put the boot down.

Chased a guy down over the last few hundred metres (he thanked me for that once we had recovered out breath at the end as it pushed him on to a PB), and stopped my Garmin.... 25:10!

The official time was 25:12... So I AM PLEASED with that.. although the thing is my Garmin said the distance was 4.93k... so 70m short of the 5k.... so does this make it a PB?... was my Garmin out?.... Well actually I think Yes definately and maybe it was .... I though was very happy and I've put the 5k devil to rest as it didn't hurt anything like the last time (don't get me wrong here, I did push myself, I couldn't have gone any faster I probably just knew what to expect more).

The people at the event were all great, the fact that it's nearer then Bushy Park and has about a quarter of the people means I'm likely to venture back down there again and give it a go... I still may make that sub 25min before the year is out!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Double Header Thursday

I had to get my car serviced yesterday.... luckily the car is pretty new and this was it's first service so it wasn't too expensive!!

However due to my usual lack of advance planning (like I've got a long drive with work today and horrid horrid 8 hour round trip next week), I decided I needed to get the car serviced, so no I didn't have the luxury of waiting a two weeks and having the garage loan me a car for the day or waiting a week no less and have them drop me and pick me up from work... no I needed the car services like this week.... but no fear having checked the map I figured it was a short journey to bike it in.

After all I can bike in from home and this was way closer.

So close in fact that I decided it was too short to bike and I'd run it! ... Turned out it was only 4k in both directions! Yes a double header Thursday with a run in the morning and a run in the evening - only time I've done two runs in a day before is during the one duathlon I've done!!

So 8am yesterday saw me in my lycra's, gillet and winter top, rucksack (with not much in I hasten to add)! I dropped the car off and set off, map in hand and iPod on :o)

It was actually a GREAT RUN in to work! I got there grabbed my suit from the locker and headed to the gym showers - which were packed! I had about 10mins for quick shower and change as was being picked up to get to a customer meeting.. usually I phaff for England in the showers but I did manage to turn it around pretty quickly and head out the door.

We then roll forward to later in the day. I was back in the office and IT WAS RAINING.... it wasn't supposed to rain... but it was POURING! .. YUK!... Still I got a call from the garage that the car was ready and I planned my escape... alas I couldn't get away before the sun had gone down and so my task was not only putting back on my running gear from the morning (slighlty eugh) but to run through the scarey woods before reaching civilisation .. YIKES! Now I did have a variety of lights flashing on me or my pack and I also had my little JOYSTICK bike light (which is FAB and very bright). But still it was a little "blair witch" running through the woods in the rain... shudder!

Still I made it back to the garage went in - started sweating so much I went back out - waited for the guy with my keys handed over the credit card and set off home (me rather wet and sweaty, car clean, shiney and motoring)

I managed the run back to the garage about 3mins faster then the run to work - I think this was for two reasons (1) I knew where I was going a bit better and (2) I was running scared the first 10mins in the!!

Thank crunchy it's Friday and the weekend tomorrow... WHOOT!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A moment in time

As I'm sure you are all aware yesterday was Armistice Day.

Now I have already deleted some personal thoughts about this day which I have decided not to share. However I will share a poignant and possibly typically English moment which happened at work yesterday.

Yesterday I was having a work related conversation with a colleague, mid sentence the alarm bell sounded marking 11 o'clock and the start of the 2mins silence. Mid sentence we looked at each other, both turned to one side and hushed. The whole building went quiet - no phone rang, not a whisper from a person - the only sound the eerie noise of the air-conditioning. During this time I shed a couple of tears for reasons personal to me. It felt strange, although I didn't know the guy I was talking to (he was new to the company) I didn't feel embarrassed and I didn't feel awkward.

After the two minutes the alarm bell sounded again. We turned to each other, I dried my eyes and felt the need to briefly apologize. This guy just said "oh it's ok" and it was that moment I saw he also had a glint of tear in his eyes too. It's strange how this moment in time every year has us all stop and remember, and in my case also give hope for the safety of all of our (and I mean your guys too) armed forces personnel.

As if nothing had then happened we bizarrely continued our previous conversation where we had left off! How typically English! Not that I particularly wanted to talk about anything else and I'm sure he didn't either. Afterall this moment was a personnal one for both of us. But it was, well odd to just look, apologize and then say .. "Now where were we.. oh yes"... Funny. Although not ha ha funny... if you see what I mean.

On another entirely different note I'd just like to tell you about this little class I've been attending this last month... Body Pump! The Tuesday's I've been home in October (not many!) and this month I've been going to this class on a Tuesday evening. It's great. A full body work out, low weights and high reps. I'm sure we hit every muscle group - my arms often feel like they're going to fall off by the end (I am weedy!). I think this is an ideal way of getting much needed strength training in, the instructor is fab and the music is ace. They do several others during the week so I may try and see if I can squeeze in two sessions a week during the winter!

I also had a mad moment the other day and entered not just one but two half marathons for early next year! Yikes! Wokingham (early Feb) and Reading (late March) half mary's await!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remembrance Sunday

Lest we forget

A day of Remembrance for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, originally for those who fought in the first world war, and to the modern day.

For the Fallen - Laurance Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A change

So do you like it? The new background that is... well you know what a busy-bee I am so I thought this was perfect... and quite bright too!!

Here's where I was last week;
"SUNRISE 2008" in Oahu... yes very nice (thank you very much)...

I took my friend Katharine (aka Pikey - yes yes it's a hockey name based on the old addage take the surname and add a 'y').... We were in Hawaii for a whole three days (just)

Pikey spent most of the time wondering what time of day it was ... we travelled via Atlanta (of course) and so had a five hour time difference to cope with for a day or so before a second 9.5 hour flight and another 6 hours... yikes.. was it day or night.. who knew...

Still... I has happy...
I had a badge with my name on and a beer - how wrong could I go?!! ;o)

We had a fab view from the room;

and my Garmin even managed to track my little run (don't ask what time of day it was as that would be dependant on if you asked my head or tummy!!!)

It was a short sharpe trip - but what a lucky girl I was to go... especially hearing that there was a couple of inches of snow (YES SNOW!! WHAT IT WAS OCTOBER MOTHER NATURE THAT IS SO WRONG!)... anyhow, yes the day it snowed I just happened to send home this self portrait taken with the phone;
I don't think mother was too impressed ;o)

Still home now and the difference a week makes... for starters I didn't see the Sun until Friday! You think I'm kidding but I'm not!

Also had double glazed window and a new door installed.... which has been a little frustrating given I'm paying for it all... but thankfully nearly done.... and even managed a bit of training too (although what for I hear you cry....)

Oh and a special thanks to Warriorwoman who so inspired me (with an email threat that she was planning a run on Friday) as this did ensure I got my planned Friday run in - having wimped out on Thursday ;o)

Should have rode the bike today but spent an hour waiting for the fitters to not turn up to complete the fitting of the window... then went to the bike shop came back (and let the fitter in) and spent about 2 hours CLEANING my mountain bike and changing the inner tubes, all ready for some winter riding (although I fear for the chain which looks a bit rusty... whoops!)

More changes to the blog coming soon as I think of a new title and tidy up the sidebar!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The 1,000 yard stare

This is a blog I've been meaning to write for a couple of weeks.

I met Wes (as some of you will know) the other Monday (well beginning of October actually). It was great of him to take some time out and meet me for breakfast before his work day - I was visiting Atlanta for a few days at the start of my holiday. It's kind of special meeting up with fellow bloggers in this increasingly smaller world of ours so I was grateful to be having a bagel with one so far away from my home.

Now you may recall I met and managed a couple of runs with Wes earlier in the year on another ATL stop. Wes looked much the same, maybe a couple of pounds lighter - one thing he did have though was what I call (and I've heard it before) "the thousand yard stare". Now I've seen this before and recognise in myself that I've possessed this thing myself. However my circumstance was different... mine came about when I was home on R&R from Iraq and later when I got home for good. I've seen it on others in similar circumstance and indeed on friends who have been far away in totally different circumstance - for example of friend of mine went teaching for nearly a year in Ghana. Similar can be said for those who are suffering or recovering from life threatening illness... Living a life out of the norm and coming back to "society", I believe, usually induces the 1000 yard stare.

It's a state of being (in my mind) where you are in your environment but can't quite comprehend it all. You contemplate your own purpose in life and you begin to see life from a different view. Usually I think someone who has the 1000 yard stare will be different after but somehow the same and possibly a better person from this period of contemplation. Wes had this look of deep contemplation. Of someone who was still on a journey.

His posts following our meeting have certainly been some of his best, honest, soul searching and thought provoking.

I am beginning to understand the journey which is that which takes you towards your first ironman.

Wes is nearly at his journey's end - he races this Sunday. Or maybe it's just the beginning of a new journey..... one thing I feel is for sure - finish or not (and the only reason I think not is if he has some form of bad luck/ mechanical yuk which one cannot count for)... one thing for sure, Wes will have made the ironman journey (in my mind).......... there's no doubt he has already been through a life changing experience. I just wish him luck and success for his ultimate goal this Sunday...... TO THE FINISH LINE WES, TO THE FINISH LINE


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Errr hello

Yes people I am still here!

Having/ had a bit of a crazy October!

Had a fab holiday in Atlanta and Vegas at the beginning of the month... WHAT to say about Vegas - well I couldn't write enough that's for sure.

I went wanting not to like it
I was surprised by the amount of building work going on in the strip
I was amazed by some of the hotels... WOW! doesn't quite grab it - especially the Ballagio fountains!
We managed to get some tickets to see Bett Midler in her reopening night.. BLINKIN AMAZING!
I didn't loose any money at the casino - I didn't win any either... although i did have fun on the blackjack table (I did like the free booze!)
I am still astounded by the Grand Canyon - heli trip is the way to see it for sure!
I left having loved the place
..... I will return I'm sure!

Have been back home nearly two weeks and catching up with work - it's been hectic....

AND THEN THERE's this little trip I got planned for next week...

All I'm going to say is


Yes yours truly is off to Hawaii for a few days (like 19hours travel each way for a three day work conference... OH MY!)

BUT don't worry I haven't forgotten about the tri-thing.. I have some plans forming for next season already....

and in between I'm going to enter my local half marathon which is in early Feb.. YEAH.. the training starts in earnest when I get back... (and I will do a live blog weigh in.. GULP!)

ON another note entirely...... I've lost a fellow blogger... their page has like disappeared - it's weird when that happens ....

Right I'm off to think about packing my grass skirt etc!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What to say.....

There are times when I think about blogging and there's so much to just say!

So many funny things that happen... then I have Soooooo many things that it gets too much to blog and so I don't.

This weekend was no exception, unless you're talking about blogging about tri-training in which case having too much to say would be the exact opposite.

I did no training so that is easy.. oh wait I did go swimming... how could I forget when i went to a public pool (OH MY! Couldn't make it to my club pool - but the local one in Bracknell was surprisingly good, warm and clean!)... still yes I did do that (virtual pat on the pack.. I thank you).... but that was it.

Nothing else

Nothing nadda...


Nul. Nil points! etc

I was going to bike on Saturday morning but it was FOGGY.. (what was that about?)... anyhow not wanting to ruin my life just yet (I don't trust the drivers around here in the little country lanes) I bailed and went for the swim option instead... not quite the same as a 2-3hour ride.

Saturday lunch I had to actually go to work (rude) and head down to the lovely Isle of Wight (not so rude and did make up for it a bit)... {edit: I think I want to go back there again and now have it on my list of a place to bike around}.... it looked nice and it's a smaller island then the one I currently live on!! LOL! So work function ensured Sat night then had to get up early to drive/ferry/drive back home.... was then toast from excess guiness and flaked on the sofa!

So Monday came and I decided to turn over a new leaf...

I've decided over the next few weeks I ought to have a "weekly challenge" to keep me motivated whilst I decide on next season!

Yes Monday's are great for that aren't they (ie starting something new)!! So this week is "do some form of exercise Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs" before I fly out on Friday, then "more on Sat Sun"... I want to break this current habit of doing next to nothing.

Perhaps before setting this challenge I should have looked at my work schedule as I had to get up at 5am for a red-eye flight on Monday!!! Ooops! Still I prep'd well and packed my kit in the boot of my car before adventuring towards Heathrow Terminal 5 (the new one for those not in the know). That was an experience of bright lights which my eyes had hardly woken up to my the time I got there at 6:15!! I blinked blindly as the lights drew me in like heading to a UFO on an old rerun of xFiles.

Having landed at about 7:15pm I did the right thing on the way back and headed up the M4 (rather then another route) which would make me route home passing the gym door - thus have no excuse to not pop in.

My Monday challenge was successful! I tried 10mins of rowing (not done that in a few years) before embarking on a 5min easy, 5 interval (30s:30s), 5 east, 5 interval, 5 easy on the dreadmill then trying for some stability work.. and this is when "revenge of the airline sandwich" nearly became public viewing for other gym goers... eugh!

Not yet done I headed for the pool, almost 9pm and still going (although not strong)... was a bit pooped so decided to have 30mins of play time in the pool, some drills etc... including a go at flip turns... I managed three before the water went up my nose causing that ice-cream like pain! Oh!

Tuesday challenge day has not been so successful as I only managed press-ups this morning. I'm still counting this though (I am being soft on myself I know).

Sorry about the dull blog... you'll have to understand that the highlight of my day has been new guttering being installed!! LOL!

Before I go just want to say a public CONGRATULATIONS to WES who I know most of you know who ACED his HIM race at the weekend...

OH OH and one more thing... anyone out there done New Orleans HIM or Austria HIM as I am actually contemplating these two (I have vowed NEVER to do a HIM again when I don't get silverware.. .it may be a waste of metal for some but I'd prefer that to a crappy t-shirt that shrinks in the wash the first time you wash it any time!)... how I get to New Orleans is a good question but given it's so early in the season I'm contemplating it as I'll have to actually start my training cycle kinda soon!

OH OH OH and one more thing.. I HAVE spyed a very VERY exciting race for November... a "CANICROSS"... a 5k race with a dog! Should be a hoot (or disaster!), have already asked my Dad if the dog is free that day!!

Any suggestions for next week (other then don't blow too much whilst at Vegas!.. yes folks I'm going there on Tuesday to find Elvis for one)!?

OH OH OH OH ... AND ... if you don't read warriorwomen's blog you ought just visit it today and read about the "Brompton World Championships"... I'm sure the dull weather we've had must have had something to do with this crazy idea!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Well this post was going to be brief and be called Week 1 Day 1 as yes - you guessed it....

I'm starting the 100 Day Push up challenge again!! :o) Having had partial success last week (which was the original W1) I realised i had got to Week 2 without having complete my three sessions.... so not needing much more of an excuse to miss workout 3 I decided to start again... at least I can report that W1D1 mark 2 was easier!!

Before I go on let me tell you of my "blond" moment of the day.... yes travelling 100miles (each way) to a meeting can be a drag but particularly when you miss your exit (how!?) and end up on the M42 (notorious nasty piece of work motorway near Birmingham) at 0830 instead of being in the office...

To make matters work, despite my error TomTom assured me I was only 15mins from the office... HA! little did he know they were doing roadworks on the A45 and my 15mins ended up being an extra 1hr30 of jam... Moral of this story... pay attention at all times when you are driving!! DOH!

Still.. yes.. yes the subject of the blog....

OK so I got home (without missing my motorway exit - phew), and went straight to the gym for a spin class... and then decided in my enthusiasm that that wasn't enough and I'd try the circuit class too!!

[Yes great one Karen, let's do 45min spin having been up since before the crack of dawn and the go do a 1 hour circuit class...... humm]

... so I staggered out of the circuits and made my way home. Awaiting my return was one of my very nice and friendly neighbours to tell me my roof overflow had been dripping all day

(NOTE: I had a water meter fitted not even a week ago - what perfect timing for Thames Water to get extra spondulies from me)..

..anyhow... yes.. Paul came and told me about the dripping he kindly said he'd come in and help me sort. A quick look outside and a flush of the loo confirmed indeed the tank in the roof was overfilling! Damn!

So we headed to the loft, ladder and lantern in hand.... and that's when I found ..."it"....

yes I opened up the hatch to find "it" everywhere.....
what is "it" I hear you cry....
"doodo's" is what....
it was over the hatch a bit like dust but a bit more then that ... and then when I popped my head up to see it was just everywhere on one side of the opening. I could do nothing but yell

"Errrr Mouse CRAP!" at Paul (who did look a bit startled)....

anyway to the task in hand.. the tank...ignoring the stuff I moved over to the tank. So I looked at the inlet valve, it was covered in loads of chalk etc which explained why the valve wasn't closing off properly. A quick flush through of some water (suggested by Paul) has temporarily done the trick....

so on to the second matter...

The amount of crap covering some of the loft space...

By this time Paul had popped his head up to take a look (or more like say "EUGH!")..... more light reveiled that the crap was over smallish area only, covering my kit bag completely and some of my Christmas decorations... It was a this point Paul figured it out...

BATS!.... Makes sense... For a start there'd have to be a family of 1000 mice for that much mouse crap!... and Bats are known to roost in lofts in the area if they can. I have yet to do the test though (which does involve touching and squishing the stuff in your fingers... eugh... may skip that!)

I've done some research and they are protected so not much I can do but they should move out around September time so it could be they've already flown the nest (ok roost) as it were.

Given the examples of bat crap (sorry droppings - much better word) I've found, it would appear I'm likely to have/ had the Pipistrelle or possibly the Long Eared variety as these particularly like woodland and guess what is behind my house!?!?

May know some more tomorrow as Paul is venturing back in to the loft space to fix the tank issue!!

Maybe we'll see one of them!

The question is how can something so small create such a heap of dumppings!! Maybe there's more then one.... OMG!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've just had a nice pint of T.E.A

Let me ensure you understand.....

I know I'm English and believe me I could easily drink a pint of tea..... but in this particular case I'm talking T.E.A


from Hogs Back Brewer no less.... and it was quite good actually.

This is only going to be a short post (I can hear the global sigh of relief..... lol...ok maybe just a few sighs then).

Anyhow, I wanted to share this song with y'all as it was the last to come of the radio in the car as I got back from the hairdressers this evening (yes I'm still in "recovery" mode and hair cuts count). So here's a spot of "NOAH AND THE WHALES" with "FIVE YEARS TIME" - enjoy!

Such a "happy" song for the weekend don't ya think?? Who knows what we will be doing in five years time!

And for the record I did a lovely 8k'er today at lunchtime.... the miracle wasn't the distance but the fact the sun was out. Yes people the sun! JOY!

Oh and I did manage to squeeze out some press/push-ups yesterday evening (albeit with 5mins rest between efforts rather then 90s) so that's week 1 day 2 done!! LOL.... not sure when wk1 D3 is going to happen!

Have "Fun! Fun! Fun!" now this weekend people!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

After being miserable...

Well ok I still have am feeling a little s.a.d... but am on the path to enlightenment (possibly with a lumie!)

So what of "Oh Woa is me - Wednesday"

Well let me take you back to yesterday morning... me (and the weather) dull, grey, miserable... I was walking around like a child with a big pouty front lip... replying to most noises (albeit only from Muffin or Soros the cats asking for food), with a humpf and growl...

Then I got a text message from tri buddy Leanne... "are you coming to the club swim tonight?"


So I replied: "Depends how much I'm still sulking..."
with some humpfs and snarls commenting on lack of indication from drivers on the road and people deciding to walk out in front of the car on the way to work etc etc

She then told me "it will be fun you should come..."


"I may come... BUT only if I can wear my wetsuit as the pool is cold.... and I'm saying that in a sulky fashion"

So she got her way and asked if I was stomping my foot yet...

And then I got to work.... yes maybe that's what I need... a club swim, a bit of socialising, let's not worry about the water temp.... my spirits were lifting and I started my day at work... HURRAH.. almost!

Escaping from the doom which is the IT sales industry at the moment (yeah us guys sell to big banks too) a little later then planned I called Leanne to make sure she was still going. After all, if she wasn't then I had my perfect excuse to not bother, go find some chocolate and sulk on the sofa. Alas, despite her missing her train home she told me she had prepared well and had packed her stuff in the car and would make it.... DAMN!

So I got home, dragged my sorry arse out of my suit and dropped myself into my swim suit, unfortunately I was still going to be on time.

Finally dragging my feet with me made it to the pool..... and guess what


IT WASN'T THAT COLD, and no I didn't wear my wetsuit!

We DID get buffeted by all the waves, coming at us through the ropes and bouncing off the walls back.

We worked hard - even nearly managed to finish the entire set (which would have been a first, the only reason I didn't was because of cold water cramp!)

The moral of this story: We all have choices in life, sometimes when we're down in the dumps we can take a decision ourselves to just be happier (just try smiling a little and see what happens) and reach out for a friend.... They may suggest something you weren't expecting or want to hear but have a go and see what happens.

{Editorial note: I am personally happier possibly because of the rush of endorphins that swim gave me thus temporarily satiating my addiction! ROFL!}

Oh and as for the push-ups... humm... week 1 day 2 has not yet happened... although I may just give them a go later today.

OH and for the record - I did manage 30mins on the dreaded turbo trainer this morning! HA HA!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The days are starting dark, the evenings are closing in, and we've not yet reached the Autumn equinox yet, after which I can official be S.A.D can't I??

We have had the dullest year on record (it's official)

The lose of Mojo travelling the world has, it seems, arrived at my door :o(

Or do I just have a bit of the post Vitruvian blues? Probably a combination I reckon.

So I've been thinking of a few "challenges" just to keep me entertained.

NO, and let me make this REALLY clear... IT'S NOT AN IRONMAN!!! HA HA!

I watched with interest during the summer as people got bitten by the bug which is;
Yes that challenge... did anyone actually finish this?

Well I did my test at the weekend - made it to a whooping 7, quite some way short of my military training 2min test record of about 42!! But then I was younger!

Anyhow I did week 1 day 1 on Monday morning then went for a swim. Came out of the swim and thought

"Blimey! I must have worked by arms out quite hard as they are aching. Maybe I've suddenly worked out the catch phase properly"

I have the memory of a goldfish at the moment, so that mornings press-ups had skipped my mind!.... went for a run Monday evening and thought

"wow that's made my arms and strangely my abs ache.. how wierd."....

It was then looking at the programme on my fridge door a bit later that it came to me...
"Oh yes"... "That'll be it! Silly me!"

A night of restlessness ensued on Monday night - every time I moved in my sleep it hurt and I woke up!! LOL! What a whombat! If I'm this sore after DAY 1 not sure I'm actually going to make it to the end of the first week!!! I'm supposed to do week 1 day 2 today and I can tell you this is NOT going to happen this morning, no way, nadda, NO!

Right - shall I swim bike or run today.. or do what I did yesterday - sit in my car travelling for nearly 4 hours... hummm.... only in the local office so I have no excuse for laziness!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recovery Week - Summary

Bad planning saw me have a manic start to the week work wise (including a 400mile round trip to Manchester on Tuesday - bleah), that coupled with a manic catch up socialising.... here's the summary of my recovery week;

Red Wine (glasses of): 6
Real Ale (pints of): 3.5
Guinness (pints of): 1
Champagne (pink, flutes of): 4
Chips (aka fries - plate of): 1
Chocolate (bars of): 2
Chocolate (volcanic pudding): 2
Cheese (stinky): small slab (amazingly little for me!)
Ice cream: 3 scoops of home made mango (thanks Nathalie), 1 cornetto

So I think I blew the diet somewhat and have certainly gone over the recommended number of "units" for the week.. Oops... nothing like making up for it is there... needless to say I'm feeling a little jaded ;o) and am probably about a stone heavier!! LOL!

Oh from an exercise summary point of view;
Swim - recovery - 30mins
Bike - recovery spin; 30mins, 15mins, long recover 2hrs (felt dead at the end of that!)
Run - none yet, am supposed to be doing one today (just a gentle 20mins), but frankly my head and tum may not want to play (over indulgence last night)

Got a bit of a better week planned this week - no alcohol for a start!! LOL!

So now the season is nearly over I gotta figure out what next to keep me busy over Autumn and Winter months.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Vitruvian 2008 Race Report

Left Friday evening, managing to get out of work for 4.20pm and get on the road. Or should that be car park.... yes folks.... I dared to head towards the M25 on a Friday evening. Leanne had a similar plan to me and it turned out we were about a quarter of a mile apart as we crawled around the M25.... I thought we had enough time to get there, register and rack before the Friday evening cut off at 8pm..... that was until we got on the M25... some two hours and 45miles later we RV'd at a Starbucks for tactical break and so we could go the rest of the way in convoy... Anyways we left and rejoined a traffic queue - when we finally hit the A1M, TomTom was telling me we'd be arriving at 7.56pm.... a quick discussion over the mobiles ensued... and we floored it!! We may have broken the speed limit ever so slightly but we made up some time and cruised into the venue with 15mins to spare. No probs!

So we registered and racked the bikes... no numbers on the rack for the bike due to the rain leaving the rack stickers not sticking.... so we got told which line and then just got on with placing the bikes where we liked... so we headed up towards the bike in/out to make things easier for transition the next day (and besides it must have been the right place as that's where the other bikes were!!)

We were lucky enough to sniff out some food at the venue and so we got a belly full of pasta... as they rain continued to pour we went our seperate ways as Leanne headed off to find Dan (who had an epic trip himself getting back to Blighty from Norway!)... and I headed off into the countryside to find my B&B, functional little pub in a village called Branston (a good sign given I am a fan of Branston pickle).


Actually managed a good nights sleep although inevitably I did have an oversleeping nightmare - which was VERY realistic and VERY confusing when I woke up realising it was still dark (and still raining). The people at the pub were kind enough to provide by breakfast before I went to bed - several rounds of white bread and jam. Perfect!

Transition was only open from 5am to 6am so no point getting up too early, although my race time was 0710 so woke about 4ish and ate to make sure it all went down prior to the swim (unlike the HIM earlier in the year when I was burping up a nice bready jam taste throughout!). Got to T-zero at about 5:15 and started getting my kit out. Decided to put the shoes on the bike and just my towel out. I left my bike kit in one small bag and run kit in another - it was still raining and the forecast was .. for rain...

About 5:30ish Leanne showed up looking like a bunny caught in the headlights!

Having got things as sorted as it was going to get, staring at the bike some more, looking at other people's set up, staring blankly some more... we both finally decided there was nothing else to do but grab our wetsuits and join the queue for the porta-loo.

AND this is my biggest complaint about the race. There were nearly a 1000 competitors and guess what... 7 portaloos in total! OMG! The queues were huge and let's just say those loos got a bashing. There was no where near enough for the competitors and certainly not enough for the travelling supporters. What's worse there were no stops at all at any point on the race. None in transition, none on the bike, none on the run. I personally don't think this is a good idea for us mere novices. It wouldn't have been as bad if there had been some kind of thing to hide behind if you got caught short on the run, but let's just say the run was all very exposed - and you really would have been yourself if you had needed to go.

OK I won't go on - think you get the drift. It was a poor bit of organisation.

So - we left transition and headed towards a loo-queue... there were people absolutely legging it trying to get into transition before the 6am close... talk about cutting it fine. Couldn't believe it - really the organisers were screaming over the PA to get in and people were flying down the road to try and get in. Not sure what caused so many people to be so late - maybe something on the road? Or just bad planning (I think the later as all those late appeared to be men!! LOL!)

Still now it wasn't raining which was a good thing! We looked at the queue and decided we'd be better off listening to the race briefing and queuing again after the first waves started! Which was as good as plan as any.

Finally got to the stage when we needed to squeeze into the wetsuits. Heats were going off every 10mins with all the ladies going off last so we managed to watch a bit from the waters edge.. .and that's when the nerves really set in... I really thought Leanne was going to cry and one stage - but a bit of toilet humour soon sorted that out and relaxed her abit!!

Leanne looking nice and calm in that picture - looks like I was needing the loo!!...Oh obvioulsy we're past the panic stage and on to the pre-race madness

OK - getting into my own beat now as we got into the water/ weeds......Finally Leanne lost it too - deciding to do her own still of "YMCA" in the water for a warm up!And then the hooter went!!

Two laps were asked for. Despite the fact us girlies were the last heat there were still PLENTY of weeds near the start zone. The first 50m felt like I was battling some sort of weird swim weighlifting device they were that bad! Finally got through the green arms in one piece and headed into a the waves - it was then I realised why we weren't doing a single lap, the reservoir was big enough to easily do a single lap (with much to spare), but it was that big there was quite a bit of chop on the water... so headed to the first boy and sharpe turn to the left headed back into shettled water. It was at this point (approx 300m in) that I thought ... WHY?.. kinda normal for a triathlon!! ... and then I thought... where are the rest of the people! For some wierd few moments I couldn't even see anyone else - wierd! Still found them all eventually, I must have had one of my mad swimming moments going my own way! LOL! Still found some other female white cappers turned the next boy and headed for the boat - around which was the swim exit. Made it out, around the shoreline and back in again now finding my rhythm. Didn't push the swim and actually quite enjoyed it.

Pretty happy with my time, less then the HIM earlier in the year, mat time 0:37:52 which means I probably cracked the swim nearer 37:30. Which I'm really happy with :o)

Off I legged it towards T1
Nothing much to report here. I had no plans doing it quickly just being steady, after all there was 56miles ahead. Decided to put the windstopper jacket on which I think was a good call. Also popped my Garmin on, although not sure I actually like having a watch on my wrist in races... humm.... it's a good thing but also not so good.

Still: T1 = 00:03:38

Not going to win any awards with that but I really wasn't bothered about my transitions for this race!

And so I headed out onto the bike - thankfully the rain was staying away (well it may have drizzled but compared to what had come down the day before that was acceptable).

The bike course is pretty good. It was a two laper with each lap not being too technical although there were a couple of hairy descents (with nasty side winds on the day... yikes) and three significant climbs (and a couple of cheeky ones) per lap.

I downloaded this from the official photographer which gives a flavour for one of the "ripples"
and this;
As you can see this was also on a main road. Most of the course were on very busy 'A' roads, the majority of drivers were good but there was the odd lunatic trying to end someone's day (or life) early.

I found for the first lap of the bike I was mainly thinking about how much I needed the loo! Everytime I got down on my tri-bars it just made me think of it even more. So spent the second half of the bike eyeing up potential stop off points for lap two! The first half of the lap contains the climbs so it feels like you're going slow or at least behind maybe where you expect to be time ways. Luckily when we recc'd the route the other week we had kind of sussed that out so I didn't feel under any pressure about the slow time after the ripple as I knew it would come back on the back straight of the course! The first lap I was kinda having fun (despite the obvious distraction!) and actually hit the transition turn out for lap 2 in about 1hr 32... much much quicker then I thought I'd be going. Still I felt fine so ploughed off to the second lap.
Got to the ripple for the seconf time only to find me getting held up by cars! They were held up by cyclists at the top and hadn't thought to pull out a bit so you could get past on the inside (despite the obvious fact there was a race going on).... also managed to take a pit stop in a farmers field for a break of nature! It was turning on to the second half of the course that I saw an accident had happened ahead of me. It was a bit of a bad sight - at least one cyclist down. The race marshalls were there and waving us to cross to the other side of the road. I choose not to look (as they were kind of indicating not too) and decided that was the best course of action. Felt a bit bad for not stopping but there wouldn't have been anything I could have done, and there were marshalls there (and a ambulance came past me the other way moments later). Turns out the cyclist (who was competing) got hit by a bus, who evidently didn't realise they had done anything (I assume) and drove off. I can only hope that the cyclist recovers - I know it was bad and I know they went to hospital. I said the roads were busy. This sort of dampened down things really.

Eventually came around to the entrance into Rutland water for the last few hundred metres to T2.... It was at this point I got a bit carried away (I was so excited about having finished the bike) and went for a flying dismount.... Of course this would usually have been fine, but perhaps not after 56miles! LOL... I hardly managed to get my leg over (my bike!) and almost took the marshall out on the dismount line!

Bike: 03:07:57 for the 81.5k... VERY happy with that. Average 26kph/ 16mph (I was thinking 25kph would be good), and that includes the hills and pitstop. Felt good too.

Obviously Dan and some of the other support crew were having a tough time waiting for us;T2
Again no records here, concentrated on getting my feet dry, some brufen gel on the dodgey foot and some vasaline on my toes. Also had a very nice chat to one of the marshalls who was hanging around transition to make sure everyone had their helmets on until they had racked their bikes!

T2 = 00:03:54

I left T2 with the nice marshall saying "just take the first half easy".. yeah like I would be able to do anything else?!?

Oh it started soooo sweetly. First just as I was heading out my great friends Hellen and Ben and their two boys just turned up to give me a big shout of encouragement! That WAS FAB! My split times for the first 3k were all good, I didn't feel like I was pushing it at all but I was going really quite quick (for me! LOL).. covered the first 3k (2 miles) in 17min 15s... and then I don't know what happened really. Maybe I just got a bit scared I was going so well? But I slowed (quickly.. ie the next k was s-l-o-w). The best way to describe the run (other then flat but very blustery) was a slog! I did get something wrong...I thought they had coke on the course! BUT NO! Water or high5.... humpf... so that didn't help my mental attitude either. There were still plenty of people on the course which was good but they all had at least one "band" if not two... yes you got a "band" at the turn around point. Boy that first 5k I was soooooo jealous of those people coming the other way with one or even two bands.. .but still I eventually got mine, which did put a smile on my face - all I needed to do was see if I could bribe someone to give me a second ;o)... no takers so had to slog it out around the course again!

On the way back to start/ finish (second 5+k) I think I was quite dispondant and certainly probably walked on that part more then any other, although my split for that wasn't the slowest! When I hit the turn to head back out again there were lots of people shouting encouragement so that did gee me up a bit. Fought my way through the wind to the turn around "band" place, and surprisingly managed to do my 4th 5k faster then the previous one! Obviously I was at the jubilant stage, knowing I was going to be a finisher!!
I passed Leanne a few times on the run - I'm sure she was looking fresher and fresher everytime I saw her! Certainly she was having a good fun day out on here first HIM distance race!

I was about 500m from home and one small hill to climb.. which I couldn't face... when this lady yelled at me to finish - I looked at her rather forlorn and said I wasn't sure I could muster up the sloop... and you know what.... I did, purely because she yelled at me all the way up it! I owe that lady something (I think! LOL).

Coming around the finishing shoot I saw Hellen at the side with her elder son, Kit up by the rail! I ran past collecting a high five on the way and finished with a big fat juicy grin!

Run Time: 2:15:20... disappointing but acceptable!

On reflection I realised I only took on about 1 litre (which is approx 33fl oz) on the bike - so I'm pretty sure dehydration had an effect on the run. You live and learn!

I finished... I am a Vitruvian:

All in all I enjoyed the race. I was disappointed with the run. The organisation could have been better when it came to facilities and the bike course was a little hairy. Overall I'd probably do the event again though as the people are what make it!

This is Leanne and I with Kit - my number one fan! Proudly wearing our finishers t-shirt!

All that remained was to pack the bikes up and head up... and that's when the heavens really did open. The monsoon-esk rain we had been promised arrived, thankfully for Leanne and I a good hour after we'd finished!