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!