Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Sabbatical" Part 1....

So having got hitched we have now been in Western Australia just over a month.... We spent 10days down in the lushous wine region of Margaret River (and cue any excuse to visit vineyard and taste wine), and the rest of the time being homed and hosted by friends in Rockingham (about 40mins south of Perth)

After all the stress of work, giving up work, sorting out the house and the ceremony I have to say it took a while for us to truly relax... But relaxing is most certainly what we are doing now! I'm currently "penning" this entry whilst laying under a tree in Kings Park (a very very large park in Perth).... The weather has been almost too fantastically hot these last few days, which is a little weird for us given it is Christmas after all (so far more used to rain or cold).... We have some more sightseeing in Perth over the coming week before we head out for the second stage of our Australia trip ... Which commences with a 2 day train journey across the country to Adelaide and thus to Melbourne the following day (we don't quite have enough time to make the connection!)

The vastness and emptiness of the Australian continent has already made an impression on me....I can't imagine what I'm going to feel like having spent 44+hrs on the same train to get from one side to not quite the other!!

Now in answer to the question I had about how often/ why I blog well.... I used to blog more frequently, largely at a time when I was getting into something new (triathlon in case you couldn't guess from the title!) when I interacted more with the blogging community on the subject. As time has gone by my engagement both with my blog and other blogs has become more sporadic... Not sure why... Maybe I guess as I've sorted less support? Perhaps.... Or perhaps as I've become engrossed in other things.... As of now I blog when I feel like it (randomly) although quite often I think of blogging and don't seem to "find" the time to execute my thoughts.... Afterall this shouldn't feel a chore but an enjoyable interlude of brain dumping or  sharing random (usually in my case) thoughts .....

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Slowly, slowly, catchy Monkey....

Rome was not built in a day and nor is recovery from fairly major surgery either it seems.....

But..... Slowly, real slowly, I am feeling much more able to be up and active in my true style!.... I have most certainly been impatient (shock)... But having had the follow up with my surgeon 3 weeks ago I sort of realised that feeling 100% better 6 weeks after the op was, yes, completely unrealistic!

Still.... Slowly slowly catchy monkey I shall creep up my activity and get back to where I was although that may well take quite some time.....

I freaked myself out with a swim a few weeks back, overdid it (by swimming 850m, I should have stopped at 700...) which basically gave me much sharp pains in the belly region for a few days... Like listen to your body dumbo... I felt tired but ok at 700 but had wanted to do a warm down and finish off the set ... So pushed on. I realise now that "pushing through" which is common when you are training is not necessarily the right mental attitude for post surgery recovery.... So yes... Lesson learnt and now I'm listening.... And I haven't swam since by the way, abs need a little bit more strength in them to be upside down and flipping about (and I'm a scared wooz!)

I did hit a big and happy milestone last week and ran/walked my way to 5k....and I'm happy enough with a 30min spin on my turbo.

So.... Slowly slowly I shall catch that monkey.... As I said before my main aim is to fit and healthy for our big Wedding day and 6month honeymoon adventure. Tri specific fitness can wait we have many adventures to get up to in the coming months!!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Lance thing

Well... I am NOT going to post a long comment about the whole sorry saga.....

But I have just read an interesting article from The Independent.... to which at the end is the following table;

Tour de farce: Who takes Lance's titles?
1999 Who finished second? Alex Zülle (Swit) who admitted to doping as part of Festina Affair in 1998. Banned for year but returned for 1999.
2000 2nd: Jan Ullrich (Ger). Five-time runner-up was given a two-year ban in February this year after the Operation Puerto doping scandal in 2006, with his races from 2005-2007 banished.
2001 2nd: Ullrich
2002 2nd: Joseba Beloki (Sp). Clean.
2003 2nd: Ullrich
2004 2nd: Andreas Klöden (Ger) Connected to a 2006 doping programme, the rider eventually paid a €25,000 fine. German ADA announced an investigation into Klöden and others on doping suspicions.
2005 2nd: Ivan Basso (It). Acquitted in October 2006 in Operation Puerto, but reopened in 2007 and proved guilty. The Italian was banned for two years after he admitted to attempting doping.

I have nothing else to add other then... what a complete and utter debacle and mess for him, for the sport, UCI, USADA, WADA..... etc.... 

Next Steps....

Well I have got myself in to a nice daily routine of going for at least a 1k fast walk - doesn't sounds like much but I am now going at quite a pace and usually doing more like 1.5 - 2k.... small steps lead to big strides and all that.

The interesting thing I have noticed is that whilst I was off sick and when I have been walking at home I have largely been either barefoot (literally shoeless around the house) or wearing my vivo barefoot shoes whilst out for a walk. Since returning to work I've not yet put on proper shoes but resorted to trainers [the reason for this was (a) initially I was a little wary of wearing heeled shows as didn't want to trip or stumble (not that I do that in them but didn't want to even risk it slightly)  and (b) well let's face it trainers tend to be more comfortable then work shoes...].... anyway... the one thing I really noticed was the different "feel" underfoot of wearing trainers as opposed to barefoot/ almost barefoot.... Now I know this sounds REALLY obvious... but you know one of the things you read about moving to barefoot running (not that I am thinking that necessarily), is the sensory feedback you get from your feet... and you read about how much we no longer get this given modern footwear.... well I have to say - having never really given the whole transition to barefoot a proper go in the past .... it really is stunning the difference of underfoot feedback.... I mean it isn't often we get the opportunity to be unshod for 3 weeks + is it...  ... so much so that when I was at work the other day going for my lunch time stride in my trainers I was going along thinking first that something was different about how my feet were feeling until I realised that actually the difference was they weren't "feeling" anything at all... I was really missing the feedback I am now used to of different feeling an uneven, lumpy bumpy surface underfoot.

Now whilst I really do have little intention of becoming the next runner to try to move to barefoot running I do not, now I have discovered, want to lose my extra sensory feet! Kind of getting attached to my Vivo's (and actually the KSwiss recovery shoes also, although to a lesser extent)...... It will be interesting if I remember this once I get back to full on swim, bike run excitement... !!!!

In other news of the recovery/ training front.... well I marked a date in my diary for 6 weeks post op to say "you can start thinking about training if you like"... mainly so I didn't bother thinking about it before (although clearly I have been ignoring this and thinking and longing for a point to come when I can at least swim and get on my bike - no actually initially I was longing for a point just to walk alot)... anwyay... that 6 week date is fast approaching and comes next week....

.... but don't worry I am NOT going to go nuts and somehow think I can just go for an hour run or a 2 hour bike ride... 15mins of weeding last weekend showed me that will not be a good idea or even possible.... anyway.... once I feel that running can be contemplated on the agenda I have decided to follow a couch potato to 5k training programme.... Given I was 2 weeks away from competing in a half ironman race 2 months ago this may sound like to "easy" but I figured that actually it will keep me in check and I don't want to do anything to my belly which will complicate anything..... it is better to be fully recovered and continue to progress forward then it is to hurry and risk a set back IMHO.

As Dory Fish says "just keep swimming, just keep swimming"..... soon Doris soon.....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walking on

Well I have been trying to go out for daily walks - minimum of 10mins, but today I hit my max so far.... a whopping 31mins for an amazing 3.19km !!!.... which in the current scheme of things was a new PB!!!

Anyway here's some pictures of my morning walk - it is a lovely morning out there!

The walk is basically around California Country Park and some of the surronding bridle paths....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to Work

Well Monday came, three and a bit weeks post op and it was all a bit of a shock if I'm honest!

Having had dodgey ears the week before along with the sore stomach and stuff I took myself to the Doc's for a quick pre-return to work check up..... anyway... he decided I may well have a ear/ sinus type of infection and duly prescribed some antibiotics... which i duly took and after a couple of days I felt so ill I decided to check the "side effect" list... clearly displaying most of these and feeling kind of rotten I did the thing I know I shouldn't necessarily do (as it makes bacteria more resistent to antibiotics)... and stopped forthwith!

So, from a combination of post op, ear/ sinus bug, anti-antibiotics etc I went to work on Monday and pretty much felt like a really giddy goat all morning - and I mean really really dizzy.... and somewhat spaced out.... however by the afternoon I felt a bit more with it and even managed to do a full day... albeit with a puffed up and a bit of a sore tummy by the end.

Monday night I slept for about 10-11 hours!! I guess you could say going back to work took it out of me a bit, even though it is just a sit at your desk type of job!

Still Tuesday I managed to do slightly less hours (mainly because I was so pooped!) and Wednesday I worked from home (as we had a BT engineer installing fibre optic broadband... this has just come to our area and has moved us from 0.4Mbps (yes you read that right 0.4 !!) to 40!!!... I can't even begin to tell you how amazing this is)... anyway... Wednesday I worked from home which meant I could move about a bit more and get comfortable. I also got a massage in on Wednesday afternoon/ evening just to help flush out some of the chemicals which are probably floating around my system from the operation (apparently all that crap takes a few months to be gone... )...

Anyway.... by the time Thursday came I found myself getting in to work before 9, having about 15mins break (to go for a walk around the lake at work) and then working to gone 7pm.... so normal mad work hours seem to have resumed... I must be feeling better ;o)

Luckily the Pope and I had planned to have a long weekend off this weekend; I was supposed to be racing up in the Lake District doing an Olympic distance race.... clearly I'm not doing the race and we decided to have a staycation, remaining at home for the 4 days so we can progress plans on the "Epic Adventure" front and save some money for the adventure!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympic Dreams

Unlike the athletes who have expended many hours of dedication to their dream - my dream was just to be able to go along to London 2012 ... so rather then having to pursue this dream with hours of effort, support from family and friends, dedication and sacrifice ... like most people who entered the ballot for tickets... I didn't bother with that but jumped at the chance of a weekend break package from Thomas Cook as seen advertised by The Pope.... and actually it was The Pope who booked the package up too.... so not much sacrifice at all from me.. but still my Olympic Dream was set an in place!

And then came Cyril....

One of the first questions I asked the nurse when they said I could be freed from hospital was did they think I'd be fit and able enough in two weeks time to go see the Olympics?... I think they just thought I was stupid... but you know.. I am an "Ironman" (*) ... so yeah I am stupid and can be somewhat determined when it comes to doing things!!

Once I got home I set about getting walking fit - starting with laps of the living/ dining room (about 14') and had my own "olympic test event" the few days before we were due to go; shuffling to the Cafe (about 300m from my house) and sitting down to eat a sandwich.... now all this did tire me out somewhat but I was feeling hopefull.

My biggest concerns were (a) ability to walk to venue and (b) ability to sit down for periods of time and (c) getting out and back to the hotel. We had tickets to see Volleyball (taking place in Earl's Court) and Hockey (taking place at the Riverbank Arena in the Olympic park) with our hotel luckily very well placed right near Bayswater (district line) and Queesway (central line), both about 200-300m away. Now as luck would have it, one of my good friends, Katharine, was "working" as a games maker at the Hockey... she did some scouting about and fact finding and said there were wheelchairs which we could use - this was a surprise to me... at no fee, no Dr's note required. But wheelchairs available on first come first serve basis, and failing that there was also an extended golfcart thing which transferred less able people around the Olympic park.

So having succesfully carried out my final test event on the Friday we decided to give it a go!! The Pope instructed me to pack light (as I couldn't carry anything and she would have to have it all)... so the bare essentials went into the baackpack; 3 pairs of pants, two clean t-shirts and a light rain jacket. That was it.

The journey up was pretty uneventful, and we realised when we were midway through that there was an easier route to go... I was kind of ok until we got to the underground in Paddington. Waiting for the tube to come I felt really rather faint and not at all good. Was slightly worried we had made the wrong decision for a moment... but told myself that really the end of the ironman (*) was surely worse then this...  it was the end of the journey and only one tube stop. Somehow managed it and was somewhat pleased to get to the hotel room for a few hours rest.

Next stop Earl's Court. It was here we got our first glimpse of the mobility transfer offered at every venue. A minibus which could take less able people direct from the station to the entrance. As we just missed one I decided that standing waiting 10-15mins would be as uncomfortable as walking and so we left at a snails pace with the Pope protecting me and my shuffle from the less aware pavement walker (it is seriously amazing how little people are aware of their surrondings). We got to Earl's Court and were quickly spotted by a gamesmaker and asked if we needed assistance. It turned out they had wheelchairs for use here too! .. We later discovered that one of the factors which played a part in London's bid winning was the accessability and mobility offerings they made - this was the first Olympics where this type of assistance was being offered! Anyway - somewhat amazed - a wheelchair was produced for me, we got through security and a gamesmaker whizzed us over to ticketing where they annoted our tickets and basically swapped out seats for wheelchair access ones.... I hadn't thought about the effort required of actually getting up flights of steep steps to our seat until this point. So another reason to be grateful!
Just holding The Pope's beer... My taste buds were still out of action!
We (well I say we but I mean the Pope) signed for the wheelchair and it was ours to keep for the duration of our stay in Earls Court, and we had court side seats too! At some stage I became quite emotional if I'm honest - Since knowing the operation date I really wasn't sure I would make this - and the helpfullness, kidness and support I was shown was, to me, very touching and made me very humble and very grateful in many ways. There were about 3 groups of us "less able" peeps in the accessibility area - I think the other two had feet/ leg issues (like being in plaster!)

The Pope not quite believing how close to the action we were
Now then... ; I have never been to a volleyball game before (ok so I did play about 4 times when I was in sixth form), and the atmosphere was ELECTRIC. Just prior to our alloted games Team USA were playing and the noise coming from the court was simply amazing. It was just exciting listening to that! Soon enough though that game was over, we waited a short while for people to exit and a clear up before we were allowed in to the court side... we saw the evening games of Argentina vs Bulgaria (Argentina had the better outift) and Brazil vs Serbia (The brazilian supporters won it!) ....Both games were utterly brilliant. The speed of play, the amazing agility and the noise of the supporters was utterly immense. Did I mentioned the Brazilian supporters already? If this was an indication what Rio is going to be like well - start saving your money people as it will be brilliant!
The Brazil Serbia game was a complete thriller... and at 00:30 (yes a.m!)... with Brazil coming back looking like they were going to take the 4th set and moving the game towards a 5th set decider we decided that we were completely and utterly pooped and needed to head home... and actually doing this ahead of the max exodus was also wise given my condition. We left, saying goodbye to the awesome games makers - who had been stewarding for over 12 hours by this stage..... and quickly entered the rear entrance of Earl's Court tube, a quick ride home and back to the hotel for much needed sleep! Tomorrow was Olympic Park day after all!

Despite a lot of publicity asking people to go via one of the other tube stations/ entrances we headed to Stratford station direct down the Central Line. Someone kindly gave up their seat for me and away we went. We missed the sign for mobility transfer from the station to the park but actually it wasn't too far a walk (in the pouring rain!) ... You couldn't miss the way up to the park with cheery games makers every 10metres; pointing, shouting and encouraging you in the direction!... ....  Getting across the traffic of people we made it to the mobility centre..  Now this centre was really rather big and all sorts of offerings; from electric mobility scooter things, electric wheelchairs and push wheelchairs (like the one we had in Earls Court)... Now there wasn't just a dozen of each of these but 10's of each variety.  An incredible amount in fact. As we were quite early in the scheme of the day we were asked what we would like; I quickly dismissed that idea of a mobility scooter thing - firstly I don't think I would have comfortably reached the controls, secondly I would probably be a danger to other walkway users and thirdly The Pope was a good pusher and we figured there could be less abled people who didn't have someone who could push them. So having signed for the wheelchair off we scooted and into the queue for security. Once again the Army did a quick and efficient job and we were there - walking across the bridge and into the Olympic park. Talk about AMAZING!!! Lots of people were stopping to take a photo of themselves with the Olympic stadium in the background and I can't blame them - but we decided to do the walk in a oner and just soak in at atmosphere... it was BRILLIANT! I quickly realised why the tickets just to get into the park had sold out! With the beautiful landscaped gardens, an electric atmosphere, with big screens to watch events unfold whilst lazing on the banks of a river - why would you not want to come here!

Made it to the Olympic Park!
 We slowly took in the Park and headed North walking the length from Statfford towards Manor Gate - we saw the sites of all the venues which up until now we had only seen on TV; the stadium, the aquatic centre, the BBC TV studio (!), the RiverBank arean and the Pringle shape of the Velodrome .... have I used the word amazing yet? I can't describe the atmosphere - if you have been you know that buzz, that feeling that something amazing was happenening all around you.... it was fully charged - and I don't think that was just because of the clap of thunder we had!

The Olympic rings - the things of dreams!
 We wend our way towards the Riverbank and then over to the "street market" which had all sorts of food on offer... we grabbed ourselves a couple of delightful boxed up sushi's lunchs and headed back to the Riverbank Arena. Once again the GamesMakers and organisation was incredible - they whizzed us through the entrance and pointed us in the direction of the ticket swap - where they once more changed our seated tickets for mobility access tickets so I didn't have to worry about trying to get up a bank of steps .... we got the swap done (this time we had numbered "seats" in that I had a slot for the wheelchair and The Pope had a slot for a foldup chair to sit on which they had in the area)... and we were pitch side... the only people closer to the action were the photographers, officials and players! Katharine popped by to say hello and give us a low down on what she was doing on her GameMakers duties - she was working pretty much the whole two weeks at the Arena as a player liaison type role. It was great to meet up with her... Soon the match was on... Despite the heavens opening in true British Summer style (complete downpour with thunder) we thoroughly enjoyed the first game of South Korea vs Pakistan. By the time the second game was on we had such clear blue skies and heat that actually we almost got burnt... the second game was Holland vs Germany - which as it turned out was to be the fixture for the final too... however the result was different with Holland the more superior (by far) and winning the group encounter.

If I am honest though, and given I used to be a hockey player I do find this surprising to say - I did find the atmosphere and excitement of the volleyball encounters a ratchet or several up from the hockey. Not sure why - possible as a result of an intense and enclosed stadium for the Volleyball. Or maybe those that got tickets for the hockey was less partisan to one team over another (the Volleyball most certainly had a lot of Country specific supporters!!!).... Stilll I am not complaining - just observing really.

We originally planned then to try and meet up Kirsty (another friend who had been watching handball that day) and Katharine again... but the park was heaving and being in a wheelchair made manoevring me about a little bit more challenging - mainly because people were walking around in awe (or using their mobile phone) and not paying any attention at all as to where they were going (or whom they were about to walk in front off).... being at the height of a small child and not being able to maneourve myself certainly gave me a different perspective.

We dropped the wheelchair back off and got the mobility transport back to Stratfford station (literally through the back door and security to pretty much on to the train line).... the Station was not as busy as we feared it may be and a tube quickly pullled up for the journey back to Hyder Park and where our hotel was.

An utterly fantastic, amazing, and awesome day. What a weekend. What a spectacle.

I felt and still feel so blessed that we were able to go, and to be able to get around (with heaps of thanks to the Pope for pushing and the 2012 Bid team to have had the vision of access for all).


The Pope happy to stop pushing and enjoy pitch side seats!

Germany vs Holland

Action Photo - spot the ball!

Germans coming out of defence

Holland on the ball...
 (*) Strictly speaking I haven't done an Ironman but I have done a Challenge... full distance... so I have done an "iron" distance... whatever... I shall continue to claim "Ironman" with it in speechmarks... and yes Jules ... this comment was especially for you!! Mwahhhh! ha ha ha ... oh how we laughed!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

3 weeks later....

What a difference each day makes ... Let alone 3 weeks....

First off... What do a large mango, a small cantaloupe and Cyril have in common?... Umm yes all about the same size. Turned out, in case I didn't mention, that the cyst was quite large by the time the doc got to it...

I have to say that as soon as I woke up I could feel the difference, which may sound a little gross and a bit weird. I mean I was in pain but vacant pain if you will....


Finally finally finally I am feeling like I'm beginning to return to normal. I'm even able to walk a couple of kilometres now although I do find that rather tiring! Recovery has gone something like this.....

Week 1:

Spent most of this in a bloated (think pot bellied pig.... I kid you not I was surprised by skin could stretch that far), drugged up state. They say that moving (ie walking or in this case shuffling) is a good thing. So I set myself the task of progressing from shuffle reps of the living room (tiring!) and by the end of the week a shuffle around the block (about 400m). I also managed to get myself off the cocodomal relatively quickly and just in the NSAIDs and Paracetomol. The other major achievement of week 1 was progressing through levels 3 to 5 of Star Wars Lego on the Wii... I could pretty much do this from being horizontal on the sofa and my brain was not really up to thinking, in fact I could barely remember what had happened the hour before, let alone previous day. Oh and I caught a cold.... Sneezing was interesting, blowing my nose somewhat impossible.... Nice!

Week 2:
My tummy was still huge... Despite what they say! But I seem to have some sort of break through one night... Had a nightmare which woke me up gasping and it was like my whole diaphragm moved and my tum rather then being a taught pot bellied mass seemed to be slightly less puffed up.... Indeed I got a couple of bouts of the sharp chest pain I had in week one, which should only be around in week 1 (so you are told) as the gasses move about front where they inflate you! Anyway, a more comfy tum, still large but not feeling to tight and stretched. Successes of week 2 was increasing my walk from just the little loop and moved it up to the little corner shop and back, a staggering 1.2k journey! Took me a while and did have a couple of days of two steps forward one step back..Getting both tired and sore.....had one day where I felt really sick and was kind of worried (ok paranoid) that something was not going right... But think I just had a tummy bug as it didn't last more then a day.... Another success was completing the Wii Lego Star Wars.... Well I say complete.... I blew up the death star and everything and got told I had complete 40%... As as yet I am not a "true Jedi" on every level and haven't collected all the bricks and stuff.... By the end of week 2 was off the NSAIDs ad lowering my Paracetomol dose.

Week 3:

The big challenge for week 3 was to be "fit" enough to see if I could get up to London as we had tickets for some Olympic events (Volleyball and Hockey).... I will go into how that went in another blog..... Was still concerned over the sheer size of my tummy and the puffiness of it at the start of this week but can finally say that 3 weeks later that whilst it is still on tubby side it is not really painfully bloated so much. Which is a relief... i think the remaining tub is more likely down to lack of exercise and excess calorific intake the last 6+ weeks!!!! Had another day of being off my food and yucky (the 2 steps forward one back thing) but still think that is unrelated to the operation as the cold I caught seems to be lingering in my ears and sinus' so am thinking that is the culprit. Last night I went out for a walk in the forest behind our house and happened upon the noise of grazing cattle.....

they were having a nice little munch on the lush looking grass... So inspired by the feeling of being out on a sunny evening I decided this morning, 3 weeks post surgery. as I woke up early and as it was a beautiful morning to head out for a slightly longer walk! I managed 2.5k and almost a normal easy pace. It was lovely to be out and smelling freshly cut grass... I came across squirrels, the same cows, ducks on the lake and the smallest frog I have ever seen!!

The local lake in the morning mist

The smallest frog I have ever seen - about the size of my thumb nail!

Cows in the morning!
In terms of drugs I'm now on the occasional paracetamol (mainly in the evening and at night).  I'm just about able to lay on my side for a period of time and think sometime this weekend I ought to be able to sleep only on one pillow (usually I sleep on one or none but have had to be propped up on 3 then 2.... Initially because it was too "stretchy" laying flat and also because of the damn cold bug thing!

It is going to be some weeks before I can lift anything properly (at least that is my excuse for not putting on the kettle or hoovering at all!) .... I tried driving today as I head back to work next week and that was a little awkward - both the seat belt and the stretching of my left leg for the clutch (the cyst was on my left side and I am getting the feeling of pulling in the abdomen - but that could be as much pyschosymmatic). In terms of any sort of training well I am being sensible. I put a date in my diary to "think" about it 6 weeks post surgery to give the internal wounds time to heal properly. At this point I can't see it being any sooner (other then I will continue the walking).... I think I will most likely start back with some swimming and cycling, it will be a bit longer I think before my tummy muscles can support running. I willl start some gentle stretching and lower ab work (just tensing them up mind - definitely no sit ups!) in the coming weeks as I think that sort of prehab/ rehab will also help.

As for returning to work next week....
I am fairly nervous about how sitting at a desk all day is going to make my tummy feel but my boss is quite understanding so I am hoping for next week at least I can work at some of the time - just so I can have a lie down or stand and stretch should I need to. My brain is still somewhat scrambled although given I can be a bit of an air head I'm not sure my work collegues are going to notice!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Post Op....

Well pleased to report that Operation "remove Cyril" went pretty well on Thursday.

Having been an increasingly miserable Doris these last few weeks; due to a mixture of discomfort and frustration, i am now pleased to report I am far less miserable and whilst uncomfortable, in a different way, the pain I was having doesn't seem to be there.... So I am no doubt a happier person to be with, even if somewhat in valid at the moment!!

On Thursday I had a good team of doctors and nurses looking after me, was wheeled down to surgery about 8.30 and wheeled back up a little before 11.... My last memory before I was knocked out was of me saying to the anaesthetist that the gas tasted horrible and for her to reply you should be getting a nice sensation any moment so focus on that.... Which I duly did and do remember having the thought "this must be what drug users call tripping... Man".... As I duly fell asleep!

Thankfully the surgeon got all his business done through keyhole surgery and also thankfully I have not lost any organs! Which is something I feared.... Basically seems like my stomach is a mash of scare tissue from previous surgery and Cyril had grown in amongst all the mess... So clean up job done and Cyril's attempt at "occupy Doris" is now over.

Now it is time for some rest and recovery... Which means sleeping a lot and shuffling about. My stomach resembles a pot bellied pig, I'm guessing it is still somewhat full of the gases from the keyhole and puffed up from the surgery. I haven't actually been able to stand up straight yet it is that blown up!!

I should hopefully be off work only 3 weeks, although no lifting of anything for 6.... The well learnt mantra "listen to your body" will now be strictly imposed on myself. If I'm tired I will sleep!

I have a follow up in a few weeks where they will do a scan but hopefully that will all be clear as the Pope and I have a very long and important holiday to book up for! So much exciting stuff to look forward to.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Training with Cyril

So when I got told about the cyst thing I basically sulked, for want of a better word. I treated the whole episode like having a cold (ie don't train!)... until I had the rescan and test results....

Well the rescan confirmed Cyril was there to stay, until it gets cut out .... so I sulked a little bit more fearful and hesitant of doing anything which resembled any kind of physically activity, really rather fearful that I may get some pain or worse that the cyst would rupture (which really would be painful!)

So after two weeks of sulking and fear I had a good chat with my partner and decided that whilst Cyril was clearly there, I shouldn't allow it to get to me as much - after all prior to having the routine scan for something else I was actually none the wiser to it's presence... thinking that if anything I had slightly more trapped wind then normal which was accounting for that rather bloated feeling ;)

So with a bit of fear I pulled my trainers on last week.... and went for a jog. Now don't get me wrong I know it is not wise to exert yourself too much with one of these things.... and I did pull out of my half ironman race which I was due to take part in today.... but I figured if I took it ubba easy and went out for a short run then, as long as it didn't hurt then it would give me at least a little lift. I found easy for 20mins was fine, my tummy felt weird but who is to say that wasn't just that trapped wind ... anyway around 25mins (which was how long I was going to go anyway), my left hip flexor felt decidedly uncomfortable and my HR began to creep up... so I eased off completely and strolled the rest of the way home. Happy to at least have been out.

The next day I took to the water for a 20min swim - I intentionally went when I was tight for time so as to not get carried away and keep it short. I mainly used the pull buoy which was completely fine - the couple hundred metres I did without the pull buoy with some kicking I did get a sense that was not such a good thing, again my left hip flexor feeling like it was getting hampered. Not sure if that was Cyril or psychosomatic probably the later... but I'm happy that some swimming, probably mainly with a pull buoy should be ok.

Haven't been on the bike yet.... whilst I can get on the turbo I am not confident that it will be terrible comfortable on my tum.... hummmm

So - last week I did a happy 45 mins of exercise - which isn't much but I did enjoy the endorphin fix!!

Having had some more of a chat I decided in the next 3.5 weeks before the op I will swim, and maybe jog but definitely walk .. I'd like to bike and I will try it but not hopeful... however I shall look to strengthen my core where I can .... because (a) I should anyway!! (b) it will help my run and (c) hopefully it will help post op recovery (as long as I don't make my abs like sheets of steel so they can't get through them ;) )

For the next few weeks; drills and form shall be my focus ... that should stop me from being a moody cow and thus stop annoying everyone around me !!! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ode to Cyril

A lump they found in my tum
Not dangerous I know but still not fun
Larger it grows
"Cyril" you must go
Surgery booked
Await I must
But count down begun

To decipher that I have a large cyst which needs to be taken out, hopefully relatively painlessly and with a quick recovery. Surgery booked for middle of the next month.

I have contemplated keeping this to myself and I may well keep all the details to myself so don't worry!

The irony of Mo & Jo returning on my last blog post only to be completely squished by Cyril the Cyst (as it has been called) is somewhat ironic! Clearly it would not be a terrible good idea to do a half ironman this coming Sunday so I have withdrawn from the race... The rest of the season will all be completely dependant on the op.... My main priority will be to be fit and healthy for the biggest event of the year which has nothing to do with sport but everything to do with being one of, if not the, happiest day of my life :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

It's been a while

I actually hadn't realised how long it had been since I had last blogged...

... and I often find my blogging does correlate to either my training (or lack there of) and hence sometimes also a measure of my Mo Jo...

Now without really going on too long about Mo.. I have to confess he (or she) has been somewhat MIA these last few months and I have been struggling to motivate myself to do the quality and quantity of training in order to do the half iron distance race I have in .. oh.. 3 weeks..... some form of "justice" in terms of quality of race and/or performance.

But I am - glad to say - that actually I think I figured a few things out (some would say this is all kind of obvious - but being told the obvious by someone doesn't mean to say you understand and process these things at the same time)......

So I was on an epic journey which started in the summer of 2006 when I first found out about triathlon as a sport and read the first thing about this distance called Ironman. A ridiculous feat of endurance which - now I am on the other side of having done one ... I can confirm ridiculous... but with the right attitude, respect, support and some dedication doable. My dream started off as something I thought so "out there" it would be amazing to do and cross the finish line - and so I embarked on a self-made plan of sprint race 2006, Olympic 2007, half ironman 2008, 2009 a marathon and a couple of half ironman races and then to 2010 and finally achievement of my ridiculous idea of completing an irondistance race.

On the way to the 2010 race I did a middle distance race which gained me access to entry to the World Long Course Championships in November last year.....

... and so since having done this Mo and Jo have been MIA.... and now I see it for all those achievements were... and the fact that whilst doing all of that I got made redundant (marathon year), got a new job (ironman year), "met" (I say in speech marks because we have known each other for 10+ years) the person I am to "marry" later this year (which just makes my heart leap with happiness)....... left the new job for a summer of fun whilst training to be a sports and massage therapist, raced the Worlds in Las Vegas, got my job back......  So in a way with all that it is little wonder that Mo and Jo both needed a bit of a rest!!

Still they say finish a race, enter another ... and whilst this may be true sometimes actually it doesn't always work and the proof for me is the fact I entered the Cotwold 113 with the thought it would start me up and get me motivated and, honestly, whilst the venue, the course, the organisation everything looks amazing it just hasn't got focused I have been in the past. But now I kind of understand why.

A couple of weeks ago I gate crashed Bristol 10k in so much I should have been sherpa-ing and instead I got myself a race entry and entered! A bit cheeky.... Surprisingly I paced myself well and came in 53mins 16 or something like that. I was a little surprised and after it had ended even enjoyed the pain of the last "when will this end" 2k...!! Last weekend rather then training I enjoyed a day of phaffery on Saturday and Sunday did become the Sherpa up at the Bupa 10,000 in London. Watching all the amazing athletes from Mo (Fara) winning in under 30mins to Charlie, the last person who "owned" the home straight as she turned the final corner up the Mall to finish in a around 2 hours. From first to last and everyone in between it was a brilliant to support and watch and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.... and my feet were far too tired by the end of the day to bother with any training... and rather feeling guilty about that I actually reflected and realised that it is lovely to do these things, I am lucky to be able to and well races will be there for when I'm correctly motivated and in the meantime I will race Cotswold all be it in a different way to what I have been doing in the last couple of years.

Am I waffling on yet - and does this make sense?!

Anyway, having had this thinking and reflection time the pressure now for the race in 3 weeks is now off.... Don't get me wrong I am still doing it... and with that distance I will give it all to complete it but I won't put myself under pressure as the times will be slower then I would have been racing at a couple of years ago but I will finish and I will enjoy it (despite the mid race moments of growling and gripping which I am sure will come out!)

I have also determined that I do have an "A" race for the year and surprisingly it isn't a triathlon but a half marathon. I entered a month of two ago which takes place in October.... and for that race I am going to train hard and consistently...... because I have a target... now my PB is something like 1:59:xx and I was going to aim for sub 1:55... but I read somewhere that if you aim low you won't achieve high... so outrageously I am going to aim for under 1:50... now realistically I don't believe I can achieve this... but then in 2006 I didn't even think I could do a half ironman let alone a full one and I made Ironman my goal... so why not... If I don't go for it I won't know!! And why not PB when I am 42.. and I reckon I will need to PB for 5, 10 and 21k in same race ;) ... ha ha ha....

I also have another triathlon being lined up - a lovely looking Olympic distance in the Lake District which starts rather nicely in the afternoon (rather then stupid o'clock) and we shall be able to go for a long weekend and include a walk or two whilst we are up there. Am also hoping that Jules will enter too (as he has been in the same funk as me) and we can aim for a "fast" distance for some different kind of triathlon fun rather then all the long stuff. But this race will be supplementing my half marathon plan rather then have one of its own

So I am excited again.

Welcome back Mo Jo.....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

113 Week 3 & 4

Weeks 3 & 4 seem to have whizzed by!

After Week 2 I was pretty happy apart from my lack of biking so wanted to ensure I put some good mileage in during week 3, whilst maintaining my consistency on the swim and run front.

Week 3:
Well the good news is that I did get in 3 bike session; 2 * 1 hour TrainerRoad turbo sessions followed by a rather poor attempt at road biking (45mins to recover my car which I had parked up at work on the Saturday - is was poor ride for 2 reasons - (1) It was into a vicious head wind the whole way, which clearly wasn't my fault and (2) I had a stinking hangover, which was my fault!!)

I also got in my 2 planned run sessions; usually I try and do one interval type session and one longer run which has some short intervals/ strides in it. These both went to plan so all good there to.

Given my swimming hit all the buttons during week 2 it went in slight reverse in Week 3 with number of sessions = 2 (rather the 3).... Basically I juggled my week and ended up prioritising the run and bike over swimming so one less session and neither for as long as I had planned.

I had a couple of short yoga/ core/ stretch sessions to. So totalled the week with 6hrs 30mins of training. Slightly up from the week before and a far cry from by iron man training weeks of 10+ hours - lucky I'm only doing a half then!!

Week 4:
Started this with a yoga session before flying up to Scotland for a few days with work.... didn't bother packing my run stuff which was as well because basically outside of work I just fed my face! Got back on Wednesday evening and jumped on the turbo for what ended up being a rather tiring and barf inducing TrainerRoad turbo session (this was instead of the run which I had planned)... Thursday I had planned a run/ swim day, got the run (intervals) done in the but somehow failed to get a swim in. Friday I woke up pretty much unable to walk due to my right calf being tighter then a tight elastic band on a tight day. Basically the lack of movement in the calf was pulling on my achilles and hurting.... so I made this day a rehab day with some yoga in the morning and a hard session with a tennis ball into my legs in the evening. Decided that given the calf strain I picked up last year that I didn't want to risk a long run at all at the weekend so made it a double bike weekend instead.... so this lead to club ride on Saturday (much cake was ate at the end!) and then a rather hilly 100k Sportive I had already entered on Sunday.

Swimming clearly missed out completely.... number of sessions = 0, zip, nadda.... Basically I juggled my week and ended up prioritising the run, bike and calf injury over swimming so basically that was a bit rubbish really. 

Total time though clearly leaped up to just over 9 hours - not difficult given I was on my bum peddling up and over the Chilterns for 4hrs30 on Sunday!

Given I had a few days off last week I don't feel an immediate need for a recovery week this week - although I was poopped on Monday I have to say. Off to the massage man today to give my legs a proper going over then I may get back to running - although I may hit the cross trainer instead.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

113 week 2

Ok so no blog for week 1.... That was because when we got back from Cornwall I had a cold and then out of control asthma.... So basically my 13 week panic training plan didn't start so well... And hence I am not even bothering to capture week 1....

Week 2 then....

So all in all, given it was the first week after the quarter ended and I am an accountant (hence a rather stressful work week... See how I'm getting my excuses in early.....).... My week went ok...

Planned to get three sessions in total, ranging from a Monday morning recovery swim (hardly needed that given the preceding weeks training), to my longest swim of the year which I did on Wednesday (hour long, one of the endurance sessions from swim workouts in a binder).... Did a shorter session with some speedwork (what is that again!?) on Friday.... So all in all... I got all three planned sessions in with slightly more meters then i thought I would. Gold star for the swimming then.... Well done me!

Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad..... And blinkin awful. Sadly I had planned a turbo session on Tuesday evening but an 8pm exit from work left me neither the will, inclination or energy to bother.... Friday similar planned turbo, I should have done this in the morning but didn't (huge mistake).... With no excuse other then much needed research into another project.... Which is no real excuse actually and i can basically accept I phaffed too much and was lazy!! Sunday was a planned 1.5hr outdoor ride... But it was raining and I was basically a complete wimp and so beat myself up on an hour long TrainerRoad turbo session instead. So basically given that during the race I will spend most of the time on the bike I'd better jolly well get on my bike (literally) and sort myself out. Planned ours 3.5.... Done hours 1... Black spot, no gold stars for you Doris.... Must do better!!

Nearly got all my training in... One early morning short interval session was a little ugly but managed to start back on intervals which was great, felt this really helped my running last year. I also did the planned long session which was 1hr20 easy with some 2min up pace to mix things up. Unlike the last long run I did (about a month ago) which was painful and nasty this was almost (and I mean almost!) enjoyable! I like long enjoyable runs so looking forward to increasing these bit by bit. Would like to be at 2 hrs easy before the race.
The only thing I didn't do as I planned on the run front was a little brick after the bike..... But given it was 10mins and I did bugger all biking then this time week I will let myself off.

Other stuff.
Did a little bit of yoga. I actually did a little bit of stretching in the week (gasp!) and I even got to see Jeeza for a sports massage..... And that hurt despite the lack of structured training the last few months..... Combination of walking holiday and lack of stretching thereafter I suspect.

So week 2 I planned optimistically to do about 8 hours... And I managed just under 6..... I don't think that is too bad ... Apart from the whole bike thing!.... 11 Weeks to go....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:The Hamlet of Finchampstead

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 2 Padstow to Porthcothan

Today's walk was to take us to the small village of Porthcothan, as the crow flies about 4 miles west of Padstow... Or as the coastal path wiggles, the best part of 14 miles!!...

Woke up to the sound of rain, which quickly turned to hail.... Nice. Luckily though this soon blew away. Filled up with porridge, toast and some lovely fresh coffee we headed out a little after 9am.

Given it was 9 on a Sunday we found down town Padstow pretty quiet as we headed through and out on to the coastal path, towards the war memorial on the hillside. From there we had our first, quite spectacular views across the Camel Estuary, with Padstow to the right, the Doom Bar centre and left, and to the left the mouth of the estuary and the Atlantic ocean.

The little booklet of the days route states "it was a pleasant walk out from Padstow but there is a dramatic change in scenery just after the Narrows"

And they weren't wrong, as we passed through the kissing gate we were pretty much slapped in the face with a cold biting and strong wind. Having only taken our coats off when we were momentarily in land a few minutes ago we soon realised this was a mistake!! We scurried around the rather exposed cliff path feeling a bit like a mountain goat and headed to the sanctuary of "the day marker" .... I'm not entirely sure what that was to be honest but it looked like a giant chimney thingy which was big enough and had a entrance open which we could get into and get jackets, gloves and hats out..... Except I had only packed a cap (useless) and could only find one glove (better then none)..... As soon as we left into the wind once more it decided to rain. Although to be fair that didn't last too long. We were certainly seeing a lot more of what the "easy terrain" was to offer with some jaw dropping landscape, and lots of "holes"... Which were named after I know not what but which seemed to be where part of the original cliff had been eroded over the last millennia, from the underneath for a gaping hole and landslide to have occurred.

As we walked along and around the headland we got a good view of where we would be heading for our lunch stop. Despite a little bit of heel rub everything felt good other then the weird sensation of a frozen right side of the face, however nothing more serious then wind chill!!

We got to our first accessible beach along Trevone, good to see that despite the overcast and chilly weather there were the odd family playing on the beach. Rather then stopping here we decided to head the extra couple of k to Harlyn Bay which offered a pub, which we thought would be a good stop for lunch.

We had forgotten it was Mothers Day!!

It was pretty clear, although it was only 1145, that the pub was gearing up for a busy lunch serving. Despite this they said they could squeeze us in if we turned around the table quickly but we decided actually that a large roast dinner would probably make walking another 8 miles a little more challenging then it was already going to be....

So a coffee and bag or crisps/nuts was all we had and off we set. Heading up to next headland with the promise of walking past a Lighthouse (I hadn't realised Popey had such a thing for Lighthouses.....).... As we walked along then out of the beach, past a holiday caravan park the wind picked up again.

All the way out of the beach and up the first mile or so you always had in view a quite spectacular (well I thought it was) view of the lifeboat housing right at the north end of the bay. High up in the cliffs with stilts supporting the launch jetty, a feat of engineering .... I'm not sure how easy it would be to presumably winch the lifeboat back up but must sure as hell be a ride out when a call came in.

We reached the lighthouse where I hunkered down for a bit as Popey gawped and took a few fascinated photos.... From the lighthouse we had quite epic views.... Over to our right you could make out the Day Mark on Stepper point and the cliffs beyond the estuary opening... And then looking around the wiggles of the coastline which we had yet to traverse.... The most amusingly named bay immediately ahead "Booby's Bay"

With the wind now pretty much behind us we made good strolling speed, coming across one family; father wearing a worn Barber Jacket and leaning on a well to do cane, younger son laying at his feet and older son (looking somewhat embarrassed) to his side. The Dad almost have off an air of "how dare you pass us" .... Well excuse me but you are in the middle of the path.... Whilst Mum (who reminded me of a Mrs Bucket) phaffing about with camera and tripod... It was clearly family portrait time with the full view of Booby's Bay and crashing Atlantic waves behind..... Now whatever people, but don't have that air about you when all we are doing is politely strolling by, and we did say hello, there was no need to poke your nose higher in to the sky.... Not that it spoilt our day but did provide a little bit of light entertainment actually.

We walked around Booby's and dropped into Constaine bay where there were plenty of dogs having a lovely time chasing balls in and out of the surf.

As we stumbled on and through Tryarnon at the last minute we decided to stop at the youth hostel come coffee shop (given we are most certainly out of season everything is shut).... Having skipped lunch it was certainly time for our first Cornish Pasty!! And very welcome it was too, alas the Youth Hostel didn't have any public conveniences and the public conveniences we found on leaving were locked up.... So terrible inconvenient if you ask me.... And something which seemed to become a theme (looked public loos I mean).....

Pasty in the belly we set out on the last relatively short leg to Porthcothan, arriving around the headland and the view of a spectacular and secluded bay. We dropped down and found the B and B for the nights stay. Despite the pub not being next door but about quarter of a mile up a hill we managed to make it there for a pint and a roast vegetable and Halloumi burger which hit the spot well.

Stats: Padstow to Porthcothan
14 miles
1 pasty
1 pint
1 burger

Hurting itinerary:
Karen: small deep blister on right heel pad, large thin blister left heel. Calf muscles tight, left calf particularly ouchie, both TFLs stiff as hardened cement

Alison: small ouchie blister between toes on right foot, periformis (right) as tight as an overtightened thing, back stiff and calf muscles as solid as the rock we had been walking on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Holiday : Day 1

Welcome to the home of Rick Stein... Well that is what I got told, but I didn't see a sign saying that as we drove the Cornish lanes last night to arrive in Padstow.

The holiday itself we shall be walking 70 odd miles along the Cornish coastal path from Padstow to St Ives, although today, Day 1 is effectively a rest day in Padstow as we leave tomorrow morning.... Given there is 6 nations rugby on today I could say this was down to cunning planning but actually it was just fortunate planning having decided that, given the Pope had been at a conference in Wales most of the week, it made more sense to do a smash and grab and break her out of Wales and head straight down South, hence late night arrival and extra day here.

..... Blog posting delayed by beer drinking and eating...
.... Where was I... Oh yeah... Day 1....

So... Having had a hearty breakfast we headed to downtown Padstow. We strolled the few and narrow lanes of Padstow and found several potential pubs to hang out in for the rugby; the most memorable moment being the time we walked past a large pub with awning no less and Popey announcing we could watch the rugby there, I said "how do you know they show it", my eyes keenly scanning the sign advertising some of the food on the menu .... "the sign says they show it!"... So whilst I know Popey reads approximately 3 times faster then me, I had by now finished scanning the sign and despite claims of beer battered cod I had still not read anything about the rugby... "where does it say the rugby is on?" I asked, not because I didn't believe her but I just couldn't see it on the sign.... It was that point that Popey drew my attention to the 10m long banner by the side of the pub announcing "6 Nations Rugby here live" in lettering about a foot tall.... "oh" ....

Anyway as it was just still a little early for the pub we found a sign for the local conservation project "The National Lobster Hatchery" or something like that. So we decided, given it was not just any ordinary Lobster Hatchery, but the National one no less, that it deserved a visit.

As we headed towards it, it began to rain a little and we noticed, as we turned a corner quite a queue forming. I have to say I was a little surprised, but given it was the off season and only just before 11am maybe there wasn't much on in downtown Padstow so the Hatchery was obviously an unexpected but popular choice. Popey had clearly been thinking the same as it was with some surprise she said to me "gosh, that is quite a queue"... "yes",I said "I wonder what it's for, do you think the hatchery is that popular?" .... It was with that a local who we had been walking alongside gave us both what can only be described as a bizarre look as he told us "Rick Stein is doing a book signing in his deli from 11 to 12".... It was then we realised that the first posher looking establishment with the queue was in fact HQ Stein, the deli bar to be precise, and the more drab looking corrugated building at the far end of the car park was in fact the Hatchery!

We did quickly dive into the deli to catch a glimpse of the man himself, but we were too early, so we had a shot of the Lemonade they were handing out (didn't go so well with the after taste of black beauties cough sweets).

The Hatchery was, well a hatchery, but also quite an interesting project to ensure that Lobsters have a safer home to start their little lives. It was quite an interesting mini tour, and given I ticked the gift aid box on the way in I got a one year free pass so can return again for free should I wish.... Within a 12month period.

Have seen all we could at the H we headed out to find the queue had now completely gone and Rick was still dutifully sitting at his desk with a cup of coffee looking ever so slightly bored. So we did what we clearly had to do, buy a book, get it signed and have our picture taken with him!!

After all that excitement it was definitely time for a pint!

We headed back and found ourselves a nice little table in the corner of the ever so slightly well advertised rugby pub. Which is where we stayed watching the Italy Scotland game (rubbish), followed by the Welsh France game (brilliant) whilst nursing a couple of pints of Doom Bar (given this was the local brew it had to be the done thing)....

As we had dinner booked at Paul Ainsworth's place (no 6), and if you don't know who he is then, well he is another great chef, we decided to watch the first half of the England game from our B & B... Have to say it wasn't terribly hard to rip ourselves away from the tv at half time as the game was pretty poor.. We were the first people to arrive at the restaurant which was actually quite nice, the place soon filled up, so having just us to serve at the beginning meant it was all quite relaxed and the staff had the opportunity to be a little chattier. Without going into too much detail we both had enjoyable first courses, and both had the same (and equally delicious) mains of steak and ox cheek (yum!).... The cheese taster we shared and we were pretty sure the waiter got the cheeses mixed up, but they were all still pretty good.... Unless you've been to Paul's before it probably goes without saying the the choice of allege puddings to select was the Great British menu winning dessert "Taste of the fairground" which we duly ordered and scoffed!! Ummmm mmmmm.....

Having carb loaded then with good beer, and heaps of sugar we struggled back to the B and B in order to get a good nights rest before the start of the walking!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Padstow, Cornwall

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Trying something new (#2)

So (!) .. I was about to call this blog "Trying something new" when I realised that was also the title of my last post... you may call me repetitive... but I guess there is a theme going yes?!

Whilst I have not managed to fight anyone yet at a "body combat" class (they mostly seem to be scheduled during the day time - and the evening one I can go to is a Thursday which means that is out for the next two weeks too...).. anyway, whilst I've not gone to that particular class I did try a new "toy" last week in the form of ........

... If you have found this neat software package before - congratulations... if you haven't and you have some sort of Ant+ technology (like a Garmin HRM and Cadence/ Speed Sensor)... and want to give yourself a bit of a different, more focused experience on your turbo trainer then you simply must check it out!

Over the course of the winter I have been thinking of power training on the bike - but frankly I am no top end, or even middle of the pack cyclist... and power is an expensive business. A friend of mine was looking to sell his Tacx Fortius - and despite hours of installation I couldn't get the damn thing to work, and looking at the forums I see I was not alone - this appears a very unsupported bit of software, which when it works works well, but when it doesn't it simply a waste of cash.... so back to then... well I stumbled upon this really as a result of some comments I saw on a couple of blogs (Wes is full of interesting snippets ... and in fact I have just looked at his blog and he appears to have TrainerRoad graphs all over it!!! I'm telling you we are trendy people..... )..... anyway... having stumbled upon this website I thought about it for a little bit and then took the plunge. This stuff works on a subscription model at $10 per month (first month essentially free as they will refund fully if you don't like it), and you can cease subscription when you like (can't remember the terms of notice)..... The principle is really simple and actually fairly amazing (as a lot of great technology inventions are)... The software takes your Garmin USB stick (or Ant+ stick) and in my talk makes it a live stick whilst you are on your turbo - so whilst you can have your Garmin switched on to record too - whilst TrainerRoad is on your computer picks up your transmissions. It then using some whiz algorithm take the speed convert it to approximate power (if you have a power meter on then it will just pick that up)..... so with little configuration you have the ability to do power based workouts without the need for a power meter (which cost muchos dosh!)... Now TrainerRoad are honest and say that these power estimates are not 100% accurate - however if you keep things constant (like tyre pressure and how hard you attached your wheel to the flywheel) then you can measure like for like workouts. #Amazeballs!

The download of the software takes minutes (even on my crap broadband) and the set up is fairly simple - I had a slight problem with getting my Ant+ USB to be detected. I also set myself up incorrectly and did a HR rather then PowerBased test (which trainerroad kindly helped rework my data so I could get Functional Threshold Power rather then Lactate Threshold Heart Rate), the test can estimate either. 

Now I've done the 8minute test ride (do not let the title kid you - this was a 1hr workout with 2 * 8min full on efforts)... 

The blue part is the workout - the red my HR and the yellow the estimated power output. You can also see a little table of stats at the top of the chart. 

So... ...I now have my FTP which I can now do further workouts on - and in fact if I want to I can follow one of the plans too.... Given I'm a bit of a stato who likes graphs and pretty pictures I think this little app will help get my interest up with my winter turbo training :)

... On another front of trying something new .. I have been baking something different every weekend this year... nothing major; started off with bread, moved to bulgar wheat salad (!), and this weekend just gone tried my hand at Celeriac fondants (!!)... I don't think I'll be appearing on MasterChef anytime soon!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Trying something different

Well as I urge myself to get back into regular training I quite like the idea of trying something different, both in my training regime as such and also event wise.

The event thing in the near term in is kind of taken care of with another grueling EnduranceLife Coastal trail event in Devon next month. I shall  no doubt record a personal worst for 10(ish)k's but the terrain I expect to be ridiculous, muddy and possible treachorous... so definitely not the standard swim, bike run type of thing. One day I would like to try one of their longer distances (they do a "half", a "marathon" and an ultra too... losely as they will usual exceed those distances simply because it is off road trail events).... but for now the shorter distance is ample enough - when I did the one in December I couldn't actually walk for several days!!!... I think next winter season I'd like to actually go do some cross country events locally too - missed this winter simply because of the rest after Vegas and the whole returning to full time work thing gave me an excuse not to bother!!

On the training front by all means I will ensure I get a longish run and bike in each week, however I'd also like to venture into some newer (or at least revisited) exercise experiences.

With that in mind - last week I made a welcome return to body balance (which is funny as I really didn't balance at all well in that part of it), and also to body pump... which was awful in its own way... having learnt the lessons from over a year ago I opted to put as low a weight on the bar as I could ... and at times even that was a struggle...confirming what I suspected.. that I am indeed a weakling from the planet WEAK!

I quite liked both these classes... and whilst not going any way to giving me mileage stats on the SBR front (which will be like some form of drug withdrawal when I start freaking about Y-o-Y stats) I did enjoy the workout they provided and the class atmosphere they came in. With that in mind I'm going to see about going to classes more regularly and trying some new ones... even if that forsakes a SB or Run - enjoyment is the name of the game... and as I say .. as long as I am putting in the odd long swim, bike or run then so what? I am not a top competitor so where I come in the tri field is not a big driver but how I enjoy my fitness is. Over the last couple of years of going longer it is apparent I've become addicted to stats!!! Time to go cold turkey!... and find pain in muscles I never knew I had!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday Commute

In an attempt to get my return on investment on my commute bike I have taken to commuting to work on a Tuesday - despite the fact there are no showers at work..... no wait... I'm no stinker.... I'm trying a product called "no rinse".... So I can at least feel like I've attempted to freshen up when I get in to work..... So far I have had no complaints.

The ride isn't a bad one, a mixture of fairly busy roads and then some cycle paths. Currently I'm starting in the dark but finishing pretty much in daylight, although my road home is in the pitch black... My bike is a cross bike - I did try riding my normal roadie once before but frankly feel too exposed in the commute, my cross bike gives me a "get out of jail" type card as I can bump it up a kerb or through a pothole without as much danger. The ride in seems to set me up for the day, increasing my energy at work, whilst my ride home I find a really good wind down from a hectic day.
So far this year I had been lucky with the weather - one day of mild bright winter, and another day of freezing (-3) but bright weather..... then yesterday I got rain. Now I don't particularly mind the rain so much actually - if you gear up for it it should be no problem - alas as I was phaffing yesterday, on "I'm leaving now" take 3 or 4 I decided I couldn't be bothered for another round of phaff whilst I put my overboots on.

This was a mistake.

By the time I got to work my feet were soaked - literally had to wring my socks out in the sink! My other layers worked fine though.....

... I think this is what the office cleaner may have looked like had he found them.....

Of course - riding in means riding home.... putting on the wet socks was not too pleasant for my journey home - but at least I took the time to put my overboots on - my theory being that whilst the socks and shoes couldn't get any wetter at least my feet would be protected from the wind chill!!!

The slightly weird thing I'm finding is that in the dark (very dark) commute home drivers are much more cautious and thoughtful overtaking me... whether this is due to the fact that I am lit up like a Belisha Beacon or because drivers are calmer driving on the way home from work I don't know - but it is most welcome. I guess once the days get longer and I start commuting home in light I'll soon find out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not much Sunday

Well I've spent a happy Sunday, mainly chilling out with the odd bit of baking (banana bread!), and some family time as it's Dad's birthday on Wednesday - celebrated with a roast chicken and various samples of local (yes I said LOCAL) wine (and beer)... it was surprisingly all rather palatable (the wine that is - the food is always scrummy at my parents)!

Anyway - so any attempt at physical activity had to be done early - does hoovering count? Ummm.... lucky the only thing I planned for today was a blog review (I've spent ages phaffing about with not much in particular), and starting (for the nth time ), the 100 push up challenge - there is now an app for the phone and everything so what more of an excuse do I need!!??

So did my test and did manage more then I thought - although still only a measly 7!! HA HA HA ... 93 to go...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Mojo

So I got inspired this morning.... Whilst reading a fellow bloggers blog.... And this is part of what blogging is about in my opinion.... One of the reasons... To inspire and be inspired.....

Anyway, I digress ... As you will have noted my blogging was rather random and sporadic last year.... For no real reason other then, well maybe I was bored with it and maybe I lost my blogging mojo.... After all I've been blogging for a few years now and I think I kind just lost my way and my reason.....

But this morning I kind of saw the light I think (it would have been hard nor to, it was a lovely bright winters day).... But I saw the blogging light... I think I stopped blogging so much, not because I didn't have anything to say, just maybe nothing new. Maybe ive been bored, and maybe i bored you, My sporting goals have been so focused on big events, I probably felt I lost my blogging direction, my blogging mojo, and so my blogging habit. Sometimes I had so much to say I simple said nothing.

So time to turn a new leaf, or at least actually form a new habit.

This year is about regrounding and refresh on the sporting front, trying new things, having less focus on a single target and more focus on the bigger picture (which sounds like a contradiction in itself!!)..... The bigger target being FUN with FITNESS... And so I won't say I will commit to blogging more but you may find I do as I rediscover my blogging mojo.... I love being inspired by this community.

So with my inspiration apparent with the bounce of my step, I visualised a slow but enjoyable 70min run around the local countryside earlier today... Got on some winter layers (it was -1 when I ventured out) .... And headed out to the great outdoors, following some known and well stomped on trails and discovered some new footpaths which I ventured up, along, jumping over fallen trees and leaping over the odd stream. I had fun out there today. I came back feeling refreshed and happy. We should be more grateful for what we have outside our door - the great outside on a cold and bright winters day is, well, awesome.

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