Thursday, October 29, 2009

Job Hunting

As you may have gathered I sort of, kinda got made redundant at the end of August. I have to confess it's taken me a while to get used to doing nothing, it amazes me I ever had time to work ;o)

Still.... Having taken a few weeks off on a time out I've started my research for a new role... I would say hunting, but that assumes I know what is perfect for me and that perfect job actually exists in today's market.

I know what I like, what I'm good at, what I'm prepared to do and what not.... I am quite flexible....

I went to the job centre today and found adverts for the following three temporary jobs;


The questions is it an ELF;
or an ELF;
... and no, clearly this not an advert for THE E.L.F as we know there is only one of them... the job description reads thus;

As an ELF your duties will include; - 'Meeting and Greeting' children and their families, and assisting to ensure each child is photographed with Santa {can you imagine}
- Entertaining queues {What?! A long queue, lots of kids, and the elf needs to occupy them?}
- Assisting with the Father Christmas interview {That just sounds wrong - if santa's getting paid he can do the interview himself - bah humbug}
- Working the Till Point {Wait, the kids have to pay.... are you trying to tell me it's not a real Santa and in fact Santa's not real?}
- Refilling Santa sacks! {They have put the exclamation mark on that sentance, not me.. I fear that this may be the most exciting part of the day}
Experience in Customer Service or working with children is preferred, but not essential as full training is given.

... but no toy making in sight - this isn't what I imagined a real ELF's job to be... sigh...

... oh and don't worry as it does state that a criminal records bureau check is done to make sure you're not someone who shouldn't be doing that kinda job!

OK... so what else... of course;


Do you think it means this; having taken a look - that doesn't seem too Christmas like.....

So it must be for a proper supervisor then;
"If you think you have what it takes to run a Christmas Grotto Event we would love to hear from you!"
OK - I'm all ears..... normal ears mind, not elf ears....
"As a Grotto Supervisor (note capitals, must be important role - yes maybe I could rename the position Grotto Director...) you will be responsible for the day to day running of Santa's Grotto {eh oh, what if the Elf's rebel or something?}
Your job will include;
- Dealing with customers {they mean kids right? Oh and upset parents.. humm}
- Managing a team {oh lord they mean them pesky elfs}
- Control all administration {a.k.a the till} and any other duties as required {cha-chink there's the catch all}


Of course there is always;


Clearly in this day of equality there is no mention that the most suitable candidate is a man, of a certain age, preferably with beard and a nice demeanor.... or who can say "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in such a way as to not appear creepy.

"As Father Christmas you will be required to hold short conversations with children visiting the grotto, give them a present and also pose for a photo with each child."

... and here's the killer;

"A Father Christmas costume and full training will be provided"

Wait a minute... full training... to be Santa.... ?! Really?

Sigh.... I haven't put my application in yet for any of the above.

OH and I just realised... It's October still and I just spent a whole blog entry talking about Christmas!! Already! I'm as bad as the supermarket aisles who's shelves are staked with Christmas stuff already!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Letter of the week: R


ICS Romeo.svg Semaphore Romeo.svg ⠗
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

From Wikipedia;
is the eighteenth letter of the modern Latin alphabet. Its name in English (pronounced /ˈɑr/) is spelled ar;[1] its name in Hiberno-English is or /ˈɔr/."

R is for;

R - is a good word of the week this week! I've officially not exercised since Sunday 1700... have decided that is when day 1 of my physio induced rest started.... so that means I can go to club swim night Wednesday, yes?!

On another front - did I mention I cracked on the no-chocolate-October front. Yep, last Thursday I think it was .. I hang my head in shame .....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

OK so last week I moved up to a bit more regular training.

I hit the pool a new record of 4 times in the week! I've never done that, other then when on a tri camp. I didn't do massive sessions (max was 45mins), but I did quality sessions. Even in the week I found my swimming improved quite dramatically - so there is some sense in it when they say the more you swim the better you get ;o)

I managed a couple of outdoors runs - YEAH! Tempo was s-l-o-w, which was not so yeah but then I've not trained properly for weeks! Great to be outside though!

I managed a couple of bike sessions, both turbo - I wimped out from going on the road but did do an hour turbo and my neck seemed fine.....

Here's my summary;

I didn't manage a body balance class (which is a mixture of yoga, pilates and tai chi), which is a bother as I do find those classes great for my core and my flexibility.


Went to the physio this morning (have been going a couple times a week since the accident)... and in summary my upper back has been really stiff and sore feeling the last couple of days and I'm getting a bit of pins and needles down my arms.....

humm - guess what... It looks like I've overdone it and stiffened everything up.....! {Insert here appropriate expletives}

So my physio has done the unthinkable and told me NOT TO EXERCISE for 4 days!!! {Insert more appropriate expletives here} .... He has never done that to me before....

I know this is the right thing to do - swim camp is only a week and a half away and swimming on Saturday was sore breathing to my right (it's the left side of my neck that I hurt).... so all thoughts of going for the tri club run this evening having done a little swim this avo have gone. As has the idea of going for an early morning run tomorrow morning... SIGH.. I'll probably still do club swim, or at least part of it Weds evening - after all that will be 3 days, which is nearly 4 and I'm seeing the physio again on Thurs ;o)

This fitness thing is like a game of snakes and ladders.... just fallen back down a snake, but only for a couple of days!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Running thoughts

I've had a good week :o)

In what only can be described as a surprise move, I've made it to the pool 3 times already! May not be long sessions but read it and weep people.. three swim sessions SO FAR.... and there's a rumour going around the household (between me and the cats) that I may go for another quick 30min dip this evening before indulging in chinese meal followed by stuffing my face with popcorn at the cinema......

But that's not what I wanted to write about....

No, today I managed to run, neck pain free for an hour... WHOOP!

The idea was to have an easy run. I found keeping my HR down around 148 (top of zone 1 line in pic) very difficult. It started out ok but soon crept about 150... I tried slowing down (you can see this in the chart, the pace in blue is going up as I get slower) but still my HR wouldn't go down.

To be fair it felt like an easy run nonetheless and for the most part I was "nose breathing" without a sign off a huff or puff.... so I guess I must have kinda been in the right zone(ish).... Still I completed my hour, expected to have done at least 6 miles but did more like 5.6miles....

Three months ago (when I was halfiron fit as it were), I was doing over 6mph with a HR below 148... I wonder how long it will take me to get back to that.... Hummm... yes maybe a couple of months... YIKES! Pace fades fast!

Whilst I was running I listened to the IMTalk podcast, which I have missed listening to since my ipod broke. I tried it out listenening to it from my Nokia phone with bluetooth enabled handsfree headset! What a wizard bit of kit! It worked so well that even interrupts what you're listening to with in coming calls, and activates the headset/mic.... I think my friend Leanne, who called about mile 4, was somewhat surprised to find that I was out jogging whilst on the call to her. To be honest I probably wouldn't have taken it had I a choice in the matter... No not because I don't like her (!), but because jogging and talking to yourself looks, well, just weird! Still chatted I did, but she said the noise of my footsteps was quite off putting, I think it sounded like the regular pounding of something else???... so she laughed and signed off!!

I finished the run feeling a little light headed. Not sure why. Energy levels were good and my HR wasn't too bad. Perhaps an aftershock from the neck thing, or just a shock thing as it was my longest run since the Bala std distance tri on 13th Sept!!!

Maybe I've miscalculated my HR Zones... I'll take a look at some data from this year and see.... and no I've not done a threshold test in some time (years), that just sounds too painful ;o)

I'm now about 3 hours post run, no aches, no pains, no stiffness, EXCELLENT! I'm a happy camper!

Tomorrow I may go for an hour spin on the bike - outside... GULP..... I didn't realise it but I am, now I think of it, slightly apprehensive about getting on the bike. Clearly I'm not getting on my mountain bike, which remains in shame in the garage. But I shall venture out on the road bike (Biancha mind, not Max), assuming it isn't wet ... as I think that is an unnecessary risk given recent events!!

As Bugs Bunny would say "that's all folks"

Have a great weekend out there :o)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last week - Summary of getting back to it!

Just a quick one :)

OK so last week was my first 'full' week back since my head dismount off the MTB. Wasn't great but it was a start - and we all must start somewhere.

Swim: Went twice total of 58mins and 1.2miles
Bike: Gym Bike and Spin; approx 69mins and 17.5miles
Run: Cross Trainer and Treadmill (although that was just 5mins!); 39mins and 4.1miles
Other: Body Balance Class - great for flexibilty and core!

3hours 41mins and 7.2 miles.....

This is the volume I was doing just on one day at the weekend at the peak of my training...LOL.... as well I don't have a race soon then ;P

Glad to be back, even if it's only just!

And now I must go swimming - swim camp in two weeks!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Letter of the week; I


I've decided to look into letters.... weekly... so don't worry.

Anyway - today sorry this weeks letter is "I"

It strikes me this can mean a lot on it's own, including being interpreted as the Roman numeral for ONE

So maybe this weeks letter is actually a number?


And here's some other versions of "I" for you - I knew you'd find this amazing too....

ICS India.svg Semaphore India.svg ⠊
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday thoughts

So it's not been a bad week as weeks go.

Neck recovery is progressing well I'm glad to say. I even made it to a club swim night Weds and logged another 30mins and about 1k of swim, drills etc. Stopped after 30 as I was getting a headache and don't want to discourage myself from swimming more.... I must be getting sensible or something in my old age?! Continuing the sensible theme, I headed to the gym Thursday and rather running (bad for neck), I hit the cross trainer for 35mins... small but significant steps... reckon now I've been sensible this week I may well be up for another try and running this weekend!!!

I'm making plans for next season. Reading Half Marathon entry is in, which is excellent as it'll give me something to aim for over the winter. Then it looks like on to Barcelona half iron which is late May... although the entry isn't in for that yet.

I've pretty much decided NOT to find a replacement marathon to London (given I thankfully did not get a place from the ballot), but I am going to try and find at least one if not two 20milers to do as I think the mental strength I gained from the Marathon this year really helped my perfomance in the 70.3s ..... A marathon is a few miles too far in terms of ability to recover and risk of injury. 20miles, sounds nightmarishly horrid but with less risk associated. That's the theory.

Later in the season I have (somehow) managed to qualify again for the European Standard distance champtionships which will be early July so I'll probably do that (it's in Ireland so will be a great 'crack') and then I may look at doing either Antwerp 70.3 again or stay at Std Distance and do London..... got to decide on that yet.... maybe there's something else which will pop up which will appeal??!

Well that's all, just a shortie as it's late.

Wishing you all a great weekend, for those racing GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More surprising notes;

1. Awoke at 05:45

2. Gym bike by 06:35 (GOSH); 30mins total about 10.5k...... built for 8mins, 15mins at zone 3 HR then lovely little warm down. Neck good, stretching bad.

3. Did I mention it's "no chocolate October"? Well due to arse sag I have banned it from my diet this month... imagine my surprise when I found, having been to the petrol station and supermarket, that my cupboard now contains;
2 * Boost Duo's (ie 4 boost bars in total)
1 * Slab of Cadbury's chocolate
1 * Milk Chocolate Digestives
1 * Pack of mini choc bars

WTF!.... Like ok now they were all "half price" thus a "bargain" (well the boost was more like a bogof)..... and now they are all calling me from the cupboard. The next two weeks will now be a complete test of will power......

4. Surprisingly I got caught speeding the other month and tomorrow is "speed school" well actually I think it's called "speed awareness training", teaching you how not to speed rather then how to speed!!

5. Yes - 3 in 3 that IS surprising....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Surprise Move...

Yes in a surprise move folks not only do I find myself blogging (for the second day in a row), but.... and far more shocking.... I found myself taking a plunge into the pool at 0700 this morning! :o)

I haven't been swimming in a-g-e-s.... between the Antwerp halfiron and Bala standard distance I went swimming a whole TWO times.... so that's two swims plus a race swim since August 3rd.... OH

I can confirm what I suspected yesterday, my arse is indeed sagging below previous "trifit" levels and certainly seemed to be drooping out of my costume more then is necessary - sorry for shattering anyone's allusion and big apologies for those at the pool........... but it is what it is so tough ;o) ......

I wasn't sure how the neck would respond to crawl and actually it wasn't too bad.... Spotting was out of the question so as well I wasn't attempting a lake swim (not that I would now, they're all pretty much close and it was a chilly 7 degrees when I left this morning).

Rather then try and do a swim set I'd have done in April/May time I decided, sensibly to concentrate on some drills.... and only a 30min swim to ensure I keep motivated and not get bored or disheartened from how crap I'd have got!

I started with 4 * 75 warm up... The initial set was a bit "clunky" and my triceps and swim wings have certainly not just thinned out but clearly disappeared..I soon felt the burn of muscles who weren't used to exercise!! LOL...

I moved on to some kick sets; back and on side for 200m in total before moving to another drill set; 2 * 100m (as 25left arm, 25 right arm, 25 catch-up, 25crawl)...... I like this drill set as it gives variety and now I've realised how to do the one arm stuff is good to establish a better form.

Moved on to a rather weedy main set of a simple 200m front crawl which I surprised myself with, took it very easy/steady and managed to finish in 3:50.... so slightly under what I consider "pah" (ie 2mins per 100m).... after that it was a restful warm down for 100m before heading to the hydrotherapy pool for a relaxing dip.

My neck isn't too bad, the sight of injury is about the only thing in spasm now (rather then my whole back, shoulders and neck)... I have physio today so no doubt that will help calm it down a bit!

All for now! Adoius!

Summary: 30mins, 1000m swim

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Return of the sloth

So I have genuinely been away from a computer for over a week so, for once, a real excuse for not blogging ;o)

Physio is carrying on and we're really getting to the crux of the pain, which is a right one in the neck I can tell you ;o)

Regardless of the accident I had already been a little slovenly on the training front, certainly from my race in Bala (13th Sept) I had done one run and that bike ride, clearly I've done nothing since... gulp.. so despite the neck I've been feeling like I really need to get out and do something.... over a month of negligence and let's face it little in the month before Bala (I ddid that event really off the back of the Antwerp half iron at the beginning of August), and I feel my arse is sagging a little lower, my thighs have the feeling of "rub" returning and I do believe a little Muffin top is appearing above my jeans.

As I woke this morning, my belly still a little full from last nights chinese take away, my head a little wolly from a couple of glasses of red I thought... "neck or no neck problem... I'm going for a run"

Expecting it to be uncomfortable I headed out for an "easy" 30mins..... This was likely to be ugly....

Ahem... Off I trotted... Not to be disappointed... Yep within about 300m my legs felt like they were in the last half mile of a half ironman and my lungs were clearly in need of a clear out.

... and I was running down a hill at the time....

I sauntered on, trying to ensure my HR remained at or below 148..... after about 10 my legs felt a bit better, although running in treacle about sums up the feeling.

I carried on around the lake and down a bridle path, turned and headed back. My theory being running on soft ground, even if a little uneven, was better for my whole neck thing. ???.... Hummm.... I approached the end lake end of the bridle path and checked my mileage, clearly I had been running for ages and therefore miles.... oh.... well that wasn't quite true, more like 20mins and 2 miles... but still...I was out there clearly by lungs and body of gloop.

I decided to not worry about my HR as I "charged" back up the hill (ok ok so the hill is more like a large mole hill... cough cough).... got to the top and realised if I were going to do 3 miles I'd need to finish off on the road... BLEAH.... So I headed on to the tarmac for the last half a mile on the road. It wasn't too bad although I was getting some discomfort up the left side of my neck, I think from the pounding tarmac. I struggled around the corner and struggled to keep my HR low enough.... and then I arrived home.

Head and belly a little clearly from the chinese and red wine effect. My lungs and legs wondering wtf had just happened to them... LOL!

Although my "average" HR was at 149 (just one beat over my easy zone), I guess on review I didn't do too good at keeping it at the right point;


I got home, stretched off and placed an ice-pack on my neck and gobbled some ibroprofen. I'm hoping for no reaction, but I do have an appointment at the physio tomorrow anyhow, let's just hope he doesn't tell me off!!!

2.97miles in 29:45 for average of 10:01mins per mile. Next time should feel easier....