Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jantastic and Janathon - WHAT?

Well if I'm honest my intention was to sign up to Janathon - the one where you commit to exercise every day (can be as small as a 10min stretch or as large as you want to go).. with the commitment to then blog or tweet #Janathon an update for each day.

But being Dory-like I forgot which was which and signed up to first... and then realised my error as I was entering my commitment for the month of January. Jantastic,me is not the same - this one though encourages people to start (or continue or better) an exercise habit by setting up your personal goal at the start of what you want to commit to for the month - and it goes on 3 months if you want. No need to blog but you do need to log what you did each week.

Now I did sign up for both last January and lasted a couple of weeks - but I do remember my aim was to start running again and then run longer and it did kind of work. I was certainly more consistently running in January last year then previous months.

This year should be a bit different as I have the schedule set by my coach - but that doesn't mean I always stick to it!

Personally I'm aiming for a little bit more blogging (it may be terribly dull though), and to get back into a better routine with exercise - December has been a BAD training month.... Now I know work is going to be uber manic in Jan as we close out the December books for the year and finalise all the 6 month comp plans.... but I also know a healthy balanced lifestyle helps deal with the stress... and doing some physical activity (even it is a pre-bedtime stretch) will be good for my well being.

Nothing like stacking up the "to do" list eh ;)

Now - must go - need to go and eat something like a mince pie.... :D


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baby it's cold outside!!

Well winter blasts of chill have arrived... and when I say blasts it's not like we have snow or hugely minus temperatures but I'm British so like to talk about the whether and the last couple of Saturday's the temperature has been hovering around the 0 mark.

For winter bike rides I typically check several things;
1. The current temperature and most importantly the predicted wind chill. If the temp is 2 but with win chill it's -4 it most certainly means more layers
2. What is the forecast for the next few hours. If it's sunny and stable temperature then the plan is usually to stick to major roads (downside is more cars) because they tend to be better thawed and less icey (thanks to the cars and gritters) before then venturing to some quieter country lanes.
3. Was there rain last night or yesterday evening, so the liklihood of icey country lanes is greater

Last weekend it was 2 with a sunny forecast. The night had been pretty clear so I rode. Today I wasn't so confident of the early morning ice so basically wimped out and did a 2 hour turbo. I think the roads were probably ok for the most part but my brain wasn't in the mood for the additional concentration levels of more cars and ice patches.

One of the biggest discussion points my fellow club roadies have been discussing seems to be about how to keep your fingers and toes, well not toasty, but at least not so cold they are painful!!

My feet preference is to wear a thin under sock (mine are from a hiking shop and are supposed to be worn under your walking socks... But I'm biking...) my next sock layer then tends to be a pair of sealskin waterproof socks. Keep the moister out and heat in. Shoes next. Then wind/waterproof overboots, now overboots can be expensive but I've found my pair from Planet X which I got for something like 10-15quid are great. Toes snug!

Winter legs are of course a must.... Something with fluff in places and wind proofing on the thighs. This is a worthwhile investment area!

Depending on the temperature I then layer up with clothes with zips so I can just zip down if I need to cool at all

For my fingers most of my mates seem to have two pairs of gloves; a silk under glove then winter gloves. I got lucky at some point and got a pair of winter gloves (can't remember when I got them or where... But it was I a sale... Probably a spring one!) ... Anyway they are great because they are slightly furry inside but the best bit is for when it is extra cold there is a flap in the top of the glove which comes out and covers your 4 fingers making the glove into a kitten. My thumbs can sometimes get a bit cold but when they do I tuck them behind the bar and out of the wind. They also have a soft clothy bit down the thumb for when your nose runs!

When it is biting cold I will also start a ride with a ski type mask on and a sealskin skullcap under my helmet.

It's taken me a while but I am pretty happy with my winter gear... It's just my bike skills in ice that are questionable!!

In other news... The training is still going well and I even PB'd a 400m time trail the other week, first time I've cracked 7mins so that was good. Manic time at work is about to commence so my challenge will be to keep up the training as it actually helps manage my work .... I'm sure I perform better in my job when I have a physical outlet... My mum always said I was an active child!!!

And for a final note we went to put up our fake Christmas tree... And basically it broke... So we've decided to get a real one this year... It's just up (no decorations yet), I'm just waiting to see what the fur balls think of it before I get carried away with putting on 100s of baubles!!!! Caribou has been investigating already...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I have a new iPad...

So I have been trying out a couple of apps for note taking.... Basically I would love Penultimate to work as nicely as Noteshelf.... Here is a page from Noteshelf!! :)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

No Longer a Battery Human

So I started with the whole coaching thing mid Sept. First week was a series of tests just to understand Heart Rate Zones (and in my opinion to ratify my current state of unfitness!)

It took me a good few weeks to get into the routine I readily admit it was a complete shock to the system.

I have several aims from being coached - none of which are performance related as I would expect that comes as a result;

1. Consistency in training - having a plan set by someone whom I then report back to motivates me to do it... it is simple as that... I want to be more consistent with my training (it has been random peaks and troughs in the past) and being coached helps me achieve that.

2. Get some balance - I think any hobby would achieve this - so rather then working from 8am to 6 to 7pm, I am instead doing something else with my time. I'm still working hard but not so long a day. I honestly think I'm much more productive at work (I'm tending to do my week day work outs first thing) and less stressed with all the tension a work environment can bring.. this makes for a happier me at work and at home - I'm no longer a battery human (you must just listen to that song once)... I AM FREE RANGE!

I also want to get fit enough again to enjoy middle distance triathlon - especially the run element. When I went to the long course worlds in 2011 whilst I was still one of the slowest runners there I was in a good place with my running and achieved what I wanted to - I want to get back to that feeling... This fitness will largely come out of point 1 I think. I already have a lot of trust in what my coach is setting me, although it is early days I know - but I'm enjoying the variety, the challenge and the consistency :)

Here's my stat graph (courtesy of SportTracks Mobi) for October;

Yes - you read this right.... 30hours of training... probably my biggest training month since I was doing Ironman training and even then I think this is close to the top of that. I've swum more then ever in a single month (really enjoying the challenge or all the different drills).

I did miss some workouts; mainly run as I have been nursing a sore leg, but also when I feel just totally knackered I'm resting - we all know how important that is.

So I'm excited about my new found triathlon hobby.... I'm enjoying being tested on my workouts and most of all I'm enjoying my Friday Pie and Chips even more then normal :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ta Da!

Yes the theme of this year, with regards inconsistent blogging, has continued!

I was surprised to see my last blog update was mid August. So here is a brief recap of what has been going on.....

  • We went on holiday! YEAH US!
The cruise was fab and went a bit like this;

Thanks to Holland America for a fabulous time once again! 12 days of blissful peace with some amazing historic sites to view. It was a great itinerary and much needed break. An extra day at the end to enjoy in Venice just capped off an brilliant time.

  • I got a new tri coach
Starting after I got back from holiday I've now been working with my guy for just over a month. It's been great thus far with an ever changing weekly schedule which has both shocked my body and challenged me! More to come on this in another blog. So far so good and such fun!

This was a great event which I took part in as part of a team from work. There were I think over 50 guys and girls of all abilities from the company I work for and we raised a good deal of money for this charity. It was fun to be part of - although I think it will be some while before I choose to do a cycle ride which starts and ends in major cities/ towns... it wasn't an enjoyable start with a small minority of participants acting like the owned the roads (and causing traffic chaos and danger for everyone), and some drivers understandably in some cases frustrated, but thus driving dangerously too. After the chaos of London streets for the first 10miles the rest of the remaining 45 were fabulous. We were blessed with a sunny day and the organisation was fantastic!

  • The cat's leg got fixed!
Did I mention before that the newest member of the cat fraternity in our house broke his paw?... Who knew that having a cat with a leg in plaster and keeping it in for 6 weeks would be so stressful! Still he came out of plaster and went in the cattery for some rehab the two weeks we were on holiday. This worked out really well for all feline's as the other 2 got to stay at home for some peace and quiet why the little one got used to walking on all four paws again in the confines of a cattery run! He is now back, still a bit of a wanderer, and most definitely a mouser (that is two good mousers we now have)....

... and last but certainly not least....

Some of you will have read how I go running with my friend and her daughter in a running pram. Well now Leanne has started a blog about a certain challenge she has set herself running with the pram and Scarlett!.... This is a fun and informative blog for would be pram runners so I urge you to go over and take a look. We do have fun!!

That's it for now. I will write another post before the month is out with views and summary of my first month with Coach!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Monthly Ramblings

It seems my blog has slipped in to a monthly rambling sort of habit as here I found myself once more some 6 weeks after my last venture!!

Some things have changed - but not many.... I am thoroughly detrained from having been fit for Outlaw half at the start of June, 2.5months later I can still swim about 1.5k so probably could do a 1.9k... I did a 36ish mile bike yesterday - so some 20miles short of 56 and that made me quite tired... as for running... shnaffle ... it's back to a slow drag if I'm honest.


The last 2-3 weeks I've put in a whole stonking 4hours per week (actually more like 3:58 but I'm rounding up) of training... a multitude of swim, bike, run and dare I say..... CORE... sessions.... (YES I DID SAY CORE)... I'm not nearly back in the right habit but at least I've thought about it.

I've signed up a *new* coach for the up coming winter/ maintenance and 2015 season ...I've even already entered my first race!! Someone from the tri club suggested - and we all followed like sheep - so we will be heading to Wales in May for a go at SLATEMAN ... Slateman distances don't sound too horrid, 1k swim, 50k bike and 11k run... until you realise the swim is in a tepid 13 degrees freshwater lake, the bike consists an assent (and presumably descent) of Llanberis Pass and the run seems to be 6km up out of a quarry before heading back down again.... Look at the video here .... Fun YES? My aim is not to get hypothermia in the swim, not crash coming down the pass and somehow run up out of the gravel pit.

Given I did somehow manage to got myself to the start line of one triathlon this year I thought I could benefit from the experience and guidance of a coach. As well as giving me some direction it will also be giving me someone, other then myself and the Pope, to answer to with my training, which will also help motivate me - in the past I've done well when I've been coached in terms of consistency of training and getting to the event feeling prepared. So what's to loose. I don't pay for gym membership so this is where my budget is coming from. I'm starting with the coach mid September so more to come on the experience in my next monthly post no doubt :)

In other news and since my last post one of our cats broke a leg.... well foot actually.. two metatarsals to be very precise. The cat in question was the poor stray who turned up when we got home from our holiday in March. Have you ever had to keep a semi-stray cat inside, mostly caged, and tried to stop it chewing (off) it's bandages... OH MY GOD! Hopefully never again. The poor creature - and our poor other moglets too... Mawnan (so named as that is where we had been on holiday), has decided the house is his territory and takes no pity on any other creature in his space. Caribou has been jumped on whilst asleep. Cue one big black fur ball, with one pair of wild eyes and one pair of wide scared eyes (they are both black cats).... Soros the older tabby has been belly flopped by Mawnan on more then one occasion (yes despite the collar and the splint).... Mawnan has become an indoor parcour expert, finding particular entertainment when running away from his dirt tray in an attempt at caged freedom. Not long though - in fact 1.5 days - it can't come soon enough for all of us!! He shall be free once more - and knowing the little bugger he will run into the woods and be gone for days!!!

Butter wouldn't melt in Mawnan's mouth... this is a before shot...

and the other day...

Despite the doughnut ring around his head or Victoria cone collar he still manages to gnaw at his bandages - strangely only since the vet put on the "NO CHEW" bandage though - first of he had a tiger bandage and he must have thought that one was fine as he didn't touch it!! Anyway - 4 lots of vet trips including xrays plus another 3 trips of bandage changes has made this one expensive stray kitty ... luckily he is now well and truly part of the family despite the sleepless night and kitty feuds that have been ongoing the last 6 weeks!

Well that's it for now - I've had a thoroughly lazy bank holiday (but it has been very wet out side so what do you expect)... I hope you've had a good extra day off too if you happen to be in the UK (but apparently not Scotland as it wasn't a national holiday there today - just a day when the banks were actually shut)

If you enjoyed this and want to see more scenic pictures of what the Pope and I have got up to since we got back to Blighty a year ago, well take a wander over to this blog.... I can't claim any credit for the written words here - but can for some of the beer drunk :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Ramblings

I have a love and hate relationship with my work

Mostly I love my job

But the last few weeks, nah month ++  my work has really bitten my ass ... and I hate the fact my work has got really in the way of my life, for too many weeks now. I accept all jobs get a little nuts but I'm over it now... which is timed right as I think I see the light!!

I did Outlaw half on 1st June then, that week I traveled to Holland for a couple of days and was really ill for most of the week (bad water at the triathlon I think). The next week it was Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. The week after back to Holland... then we hit the nutty two weeks of quarter end followed immediately by half year planning. I feel like I've been doing an Ironman work wise for 6 weeks and frankly it has beaten me up. My exercise regime has gone to pot which doesn't help. We all know sitting at a desk and staring down a computer is not great for you - especially when they seem to be 10hours of staring at a time. BUT STILL .... like an ironman you keep moving forward and you finally reach the end (or you just blow up in an emotional heap... I've been close to that too)... I now however see the light at the end of the tunnel, we probably have one more week of very hard labour before it just becomes more reasonable rather then completely nuts!.. So it is time I start to think of myself again.... and my health, my diet and my exercise, getting some balance back and spending more time at home (rather then treating it as a temporary shelter).

During my reboot day yesterday (so determined in our house when you need to fully recharge batteries - commit to doing nothing in a reboot day, perhaps getting as far as the kitchen to make a cup of tea)... anyway during an awake moment yesterday I thought about a bucket list of sporting things I still want to do. The one thing I am still unsure of is my desire to do another full distance triathlon. I can't work it out. Part of me wants to give it another bash but part of is not so sure. It's not just the training commitment which I'm doubting but more my ability to put in the training required in my job. And as I love my job (most of the time) I'm not sure how this quandary can or will be reconciled.

I really enjoyed my half distance at Outlaw half - well enjoyed until I did the run anyhow. I kind of started training for this in December but only consistently hit my training sessions once we were back from holiday in March. I was really pleased with my swim and bike in the race.... I was not so pleased with my run, part of which was down to lack of form but the most part was down to an unbelievably upset tummy. Spending about 10mins in total in the portaloos on a hot day was not a great experience!! ... Given how much walking (and sitting) I did do on the run the good thing to come of it was my legs weren't too badly beaten up!! Whilst it was a PW half marathon is wasn't a personal worst on this distance, thankfully due to the relatively flat bike course!!

I'm not too sure right now what I want to try my hand at the rest of this summer. There is a half marathon in Suffolk (coastal trail series) which I will target for the end of October. Triathlon wise I should find another race - there is in fact a sprint next week I'm eyeballing... oh and I've entered a little 10k at the start of August... Hummm

So maybe next year at least I will look at doing one or two half distance races. One relatively local and lower key and maybe another which is a bigger event. I think I want to have a crack at the Magnificat Sportive again next year; I've missed the last few years and I've done it twice and it is a really fantastic and pretty route. I should really

The most important occasion for next year though is my better half's significant birthday celebrations. So whatever my short term goals for next season are they have to fit in around this!! Family is more important then any one race!

More to think about I think.. The immediate future though revolves getting back into a healthoer regime... starting off ok ok ending off with an evening meal of burger and chips tonight... healthy regimes are always good to start on a Monday aren't they!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Juneathon day 10 (-7)

Damn the blogger app for android losing my post from Sunday.

So to keep this short and sweet I'm in Oslo but did a 25min jog around a lake in Stockholm this morning... Huh... Yes well it was a beautiful morning and a lovely lake!

Have never been to Norway before, short hop over from Sweden... Both countries looked spectacularly lovely from the air!

May run in the morning but may do some core work and run instead Thursday morning, we will see.

Juneathon day 10 (-7) done

Monday, June 09, 2014

Juneathon Day 9 (-7)

Well first off I'm keeping this short and sweet as yesterday's blog entry which I did on my phone has been lost in the ether somewhere...

Currently with no race in the calendar to focus on I want to focus on building on the fitness I developed for Outlaw half. I'm travelling a lot again this week with no hope of getting in a pool until Friday or my bike until most likely the weekend. So my focus this weeks is on some short recovery runs assuming I can squeeze one or two in between flights, and failing that some yoga and core work.

I'm also want to focus on some hip opening work as well as glute strengthening, both of which should help my running form. To help in this aim I've signed up for a free 30 day plan with Kinetic Revolution. I started this, like Juneathon a week late but so far so good... In my world I've done day 2 of both!!

Summary for today;
10mins on FST hip openers
15mins with Kinetic Revolution

If I get some time tonight when I get to the hotel I may even attempt a bridge and a couple of press ups!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:On a plane going to Stockholm

Friday, May 30, 2014

How did I go from March to May (ok June)

... without having done one blog - not one?!

I have been vacationing in some different universe I think.....

...No wait.... No.. I've actually been training (what?!).... OK so not a lot of training and actually that isn't my real excuse is it.. no I've just forgotten my blog existed...

Anyway - I'm here now - but only to say - I'm racing on Sunday.... I'm racing my first triathlon in over errr 2.5years... and actually that triathlon wasn't a triathlon because the swim got cancelled.... so if I think back; the race before that I DNF'd (I swam, I biked but I only ran 10k before going in an ambulance)... so when was the last race I actually did which had all three elements in it..that I finished.??...


Challenge Barcelona in 2010?! IS THAT RIGHT?! ARE YOU SERIOUS??


S'ok though... I mean I'm starting off again right? Like a phoenix from the flames I shall rise (out of the water), get on my bike and run a little after...).... I perhaps should have thought about this before now.... Too late - OUTLAW HALF awaits on Sunday.

Prepared - Kinda

Ready - Don't feel like it

Can I do it - Hummm I will, although I'm not expecting it to be pretty

No pressure; I don't feel in the best of shape compared to those years ago, but perhaps in about the same shape when I did my first middle distance triathlon in 2008... My plan is to swim and hopefully not freeze (it has been raining and cold for over a week now and the water temp is a balmy (not 16 degrees), to bike and hopefully not crash (there are speed bumps approaching T2 and we all know what happened before at another race with that featured)... and to run/ walk the half marathon. I'm hoping that the weather won't be truly awful and may even be quite pleasant (I live in hope)... Either way... if I keep moving forward with a smile on my face it will be "fun" yes?!

Monday, March 24, 2014

CTS Sussex Race Report

Friday night the weather promised to be sunny throughout - hurrah

Saturday morning we woke to a lovely blue sky spring day - hurrah

What we didn't realise was how cold the wind chill was, drove 2 hours to the coast and got out the car to have the warmth sucked out of me, so I chose to put on everything I owned whilst we registered and see what happened before I decided what to actually wear for the race!!

The venue for this Coastal Trail Series was the world famous Seven Sisters

Or to be exact the coastal path along them and some in land walk ways. I don't call these events "Races" as such as they are, as the organisers title suggests, "endurance" events... they are never going to be "PB" events, but they always guarantee amazing coastal views and usually some lung bursting climbs and thigh-blowing descents. Even "just" the 10k (which was 12.5k on this occasion) is an endurance effort, as for the half, marathon and ultras... well probably slighlty barking..

My plan for the event was to;
(a) ENJOY myself - especially remembering to take in the views
(b) WALK up anything which was either too steep or promised to be long enough to warrant a walk rather then run
(c) RUN LIKE A DOG down any hill - pinning my ears back and going for it (I did however try and keep my tongue in my mouth rather then lolliping around like a dogs).

I went in to the event pretty fresh having not done any Swim,Bike or running since Tuesday... (long days at work and feeling a bit wobbly led me to having a lazy Weds, total break Thursday, and busy Friday). So definitely feeling fresher for the days effort compared to the Ringwood Rabbit a week last Sunday.

The start was close enough to the car park to be able to register and wander back and leave all our warm layers in the car. I opted for t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt, light jacket, buff and gloves to start with to help combat the biting wind.

We (the 10kers - all the other distances had begun quite a bit earlier) lined up along a narrow grassy track for the off... run back to the car park, through that then up a track to head on to the coastal path - the start was a bit congested, then spread out well up the track only to be thwarted at the top by a kissing gate - so the inevitable stop and wait as we all took our turn to go through - which was ok as gave you some time to get your breath back! Having negotiated that and another gate we found ourselves on the coastal paths, with clear skies, the views were thrilling - white cliffs and menacing seas or miles ahead! Beautiful! Despite my pre-race decision to run like a dog down the hills I found myself at the first couple taking it very very carefully - they were slippery mud on chalk and very steep - so decided better safe then sorry. We had a couple of cliffs to go down and up before turning right and heading in land. Almost immediately with the wind behind you it felt very warm - everyone around me at this stage started taking the odd layer or two off, myself included.

Buff, gloves and coat came off with the coat holding the others and itself wrapped around my waist. We were quickly (it seemed) at the first check point, I dibbed in and then grabbed myself  4 nice little jelly babies.. YUMMY!

Soon and another kissing gate later I DID get to run like a dog down hill through a field - had I realised it was like some sort of rabbit hole minefield I would have perhaps been a little more cautious! As it was a sprinted down to become an semi-out of control, arm wheeling, long legged middle aged woman avoiding rabbit holes in a manic sort of fashion... type of person.. the rabbit warren soon gave way to a chalky incline which you could only do single file - which meant walking as people ahead were.. and I was fine with that. Exciting chalk alley we got to the corner of the field and came across not a kissing gate, not a fence stile but a wall... which had steps up and over... but still a wall!... Needless to say this was single file so we queued up and over that... next more down hill!

RUN LIKE A DOG! Only to have to have to put the brakes on sharpish as we were on single track and the woman in front was phaffing with her headphones and not paying much attention (although was moving)... Found an oppotunity to pass and pinned back my ears again... this time to be thwarted by a gate - why do gates always have to swing towards you when you are running down hill like a dog?!... Anyway - that section was fun.. .through another kissing gate and back to the lane we ran up at the start... 8k done and we were sent back up hill towards a lighthouse and away from the finish line.. I was glad I had (a) been expecting this - because I had looked at the map and (b) knew beforehand that the race was 12.5k, not 10k - this fact caught a lot of people out.

Anyway - uphill (walk), downhill (RLAD), as we came over what I thought could be the last hill only to see another cliff ascent ahead... ah well... RLAD down and then bimble up ... thankfully most of this section the wind was behind you so even when you were walking you were definitely getting a helping hand! We reached the top and the split point - 10k turn and all other distances went onwards (on more like upwards).

Now all there was to do was RLAD about 2k down hill - WHOPPPPPEEEEEEEEEE! It really was fun, and I didn't twist my ankle in any rabbit holes either!

Gave it my all in the last few hundred metres, regardless of the headwind. Finishing in 1hr 23mins 11s. NICE!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ringwood Rabbit Race Report

A nice bright morning saw us leave early for the 1.5hour drive down to the beauty of the New Forest last Sunday (16th March) to take part in a really well organised event ran by the local Scout Group.

Drawn to the race by the name and location we weren't disappointed. A fair valued race to enter, with the option of purchasing a race t-shirt if you wanted .. I think this is a good option as often you get t-shirts included which just end up not being worn... and particularly good that you could also choose your colour!!

Anyway - to the race..... the first race outing of the year. Given I had had one of my biggest if not the biggest training week in over a year (ok it wasn't that much but was much for me) I wasn't expecting much and given the offroad terrain and expected undulations I was hoping to take it kind of easy for the first half then speed up and hope to come in around about the hour mark.

The start/ finish location was at a campsite in the middle of the forest and due to lack of sufficient parking spaces for all the competitors they had a shuttle service running from a school about 1.5miles away - which worked well.

About 20mins before the race started a group warm up took place - which started off with the usual start jumps and lunges but when it got to burpee star to pressup to star jump I thought that was a bit much! After that we were herded to our respective start areas (there was a 5k and 10k race race going on), with the H&S warning to avoid the cow pats which were down the lane as they were slippery!!

At about 10:30 the man at the front shouted "GO!" and we shuffled up the lane until there was enough room to break into a little jog.

The route was fantastic - we started on tarmac which soon turned to unkept road and then to a fire track into the forest. The faster runners quickly broke free and everyone spaced out nicely so there was plenty of room. Despite the recent flooding the track was pretty dry (normal trainers were fine for the terrain). As we headed into the forest we say a few of the New Forest Ponies huddled under a tree... the path continued to meander upwards and generally I was comfortable as intended, even during the inclines... Until that is we got to the hill around the 4k marker... this was a cheeky beast... and named "corkscrew hill" by Popey as it kept on going up, steep, you'd hit a bend thinking it would be the top - except it wasn't - and then went up again.. and repeat... many people were walking this but despite the temptation to do so I decided not too.... having finally got to the top we broke out of the forest and found ourselves at the top of a great expanse with views for miles - it was a gloriously sunny day! Across this top we came past the 5k marker - hurrah I thought!!! Also thought it must be down hill from now onwards - surely!!.... Despite the unseasonal warmth I decided not to worry about taking in or pouring any water over my head .... and headed back into the forest from some shade and welcome down hill... my theory for downhills is not to use them as recovery but run as hard and as fast as I dare! Having some targets in sight I quickly sped up.... which was a mistake as it turned out my legs were actually MUSH from the previous days 2hr45 ride and 15min run.... I discovered this around the 8k marker when we turned a corner to find a short steep cheeky little HILL... MEH MEH MEH! My pace dropped, my legs whined and my brain said PAH... and so I walked ... for about a minute... as my hamstring shouted abuse at the gradient... broke into a jog again towards the top only for my hamstring to say no.... up the next rise it was down hill back on to tarmac, up a short bit of road before a right turn back into the lane and heading to the finish line!! The hamstring was fine when back on the tarmac so with my head high I paced myself into the red zone, having seen my time could still be in under the hour mark, I turned into the field withe marshall on the corner telling us we had 30s to make it under the hour... clearly I dipped at the line!!

PLACED 45/ 94 (Women's results)

You can see how "undulating" the course was below - the lines on the right side of the elevation graph are my walk intervals!!

Phewy! Having wanted to "take it easy" I definitely managed that until the hill at 4k.. then I definitely took myself way out of my comfort zone - but it was such a wonderful location, the marshalls were plentiful and super... I was very pleased to make it under the hour. Worth a revisit I would say! After the race we had a quick clothes change i the camping site showers before queuing for the shuttle bus back.

Rather then coming home via the motorways we meandered our way up the A and B roads. We came across a few packs of New Forest ponies roaming the lanes around the forest. Despite the fact it hadn't rained too badly during the last week or so the flooding we saw on our way home was still fairly substantial... it is going to take some time before some communities are back to where they should be I would say.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Empty Desk

You are not in the office today
You have so suddenly gone away
I hear your laugh, I see your smile
My brain cannot comprehend
Like the sound of wind through the forest
You were there
And now you are gone
RIP my colleague, my friend
I wish I had the chance to know you longer
The End.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

January Stato

Well 1/12th of the year has gone already and the shops are full of Easter eggs....

Despite me signing up Janathon, Winter Mile AND I kind of failed but kind of succeeded with my January goals. I didn't think it likely I would complete each and everyone of those challenges because January is a rather nuts month at work BUT I entered them to give me some inspiration and to keep me motivated - and for this they were a success! I also had a "secret" goal which I had set myself in runkeeper of running 60km of more in the month and that one I did charge through.

So all in all I am quite pleased that despite the failure on the surface I did actually achieve what I set out to do; blog more, exercise more and get into better habits.

This little picture (thanks to SportTracks) shows what I mean;

And specifically;... Total of 226km travelled in 21hrs and 26mins
Run: Total 72.3km in 7hrs 26min (up considerably from December - now want to set myself a new target for Feb!)
Bike: Total 146.4km in 7hrs 26mins (Same as December as I said last month I ought to have a bike goal for February!)
Swim: Total 7.50km in 3hrs (Same time as December but slightly more metres, weekly hit and miss, strive for more consistency)
Other Stuff (Yoga, stretching, core etc) 3hrs 36mins (40mins more then December must keep up the core, strength and stretching)

Whilst Janathon is officially over for another year I still have some miles to clock up for both Jantastic.Me and WinterMiles Challenge. I am going out for my long run in a bit and this weekend counts as week 4 for January so I will have completed the 2 of the 4 weeks doing 3 runs per week and over 10miles per week.

I wondering how many km of running I should aim for in February??... Given it is a few days shorter and I'm travelling quite a bit this will make it an extra tough challenge.... hummmm

Sunday, January 19, 2014

TWTW - not so good

Gahh... having got nicely into my good habits last week I slipped stumbled and fell my way through the last week... Having finished year end at work we've gone straight into the sales planning cycle at a ferocious pace and, well something was going to give a little!!

I managed some yoga Monday, and some core and stretching Tuesday and then only a 2k run on Wednesday but a run is a run.. as I tweeted about these I was still in the Janathon competition... until Thursday came and went with no time for anything, that night we even had dinner in bed (the better half also had a ridiculously busy week, with the addition of 1:45-2hrs each way commute.... I know not how I would have managed that on top)... so Thursday I pretty much got up, went to work, came home, ate and tried to sleep!

Whilst a bit disappointed to ruin my streak actually I'm old and wise enough to understand we need to prioritise sometimes and anyway, I was due a recovery week!!!

Nice little graphic from run keeper above - this week is the last column so really I've done an ok 3 week build cycle and 1 week recovery, although given I've not swam or cycled this week perhaps have "recovered" more then necessary... ha ha

Did finally manage to get out for a run today - lovely day... finally woke up during it, was liking it but then I twanged my right calf, just a little so decided to cut the run short.... So basically of all my January challenges I didn't achieve either Janathon (exercise and blog/ tweet every day), Jantastic (3 runs), or WinterMilesChallenge (run 10miles)...

Still a new week starts tomorrow eh!

On another front - given my work really was quite intense this week I employed a tool called "Focus Booster" on my laptop... The thinking behind this kind of thing is you work better when you need to concentrate hard if you do it in shorter bursts... simply more sustainable... so I had the app set for 45min bursts with 5mins "recovery"... in the recovery period sometimes I went and made a drink (or to the bathroom), had a chat with a colleague or just hoovered up some email... I found working like this on Friday was much more beneficial then my work experience on Wednesday which frazzled me.... there are times in any job where you just feel like an extension of your computer (excel in particular)... and this last week was definitely one of them. Certainly with the aid of focus booster I found the experience less brain draining then before.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The Weekend That Was

Have to say I like being part of Janathon, as it's getting me back into the exercise habit.... Which feels great.... Doing a little exercise every day, from yoga to running, from core to swimming is proving good so far... But we're only a third of the way through the month so quite a way to go yet.... But it's all about getting the right balance too and after this weekend I plan on tomorrow being a rehab/ prehab kind of day with some yoga, core and maybe some time with the dastardly foam roller..... Optional evening swim dependant on work but if I go it will be short and focused on some easy drills.

Whilst we've had some awfully wet weather the last few weeks yesterday morning we were greeted with a bright, slightly cold, winters day.... Fantastic weather for a club ride! We hit the quiet lanes of Berkshire for a few hours. I have to say whilst motorists and cyclists are a little bit at war at the moment I've felt over the recent months that a lot of car drivers are certainly more "cyclist aware" giving, well I would say extra room, but I'm fact the right amount of room, when overtaking and also being patient for the safe opportunity to overtake. Car drivers of Berkshire I thank you.... Having said that it only take some person to spoil it, and so it was towards the end of our glorious ride there was one angry lady in a green car who have several angry honks of her horn as she overtook (very very close to us) oh and up a hill, whilst the sun was low on the horizon ahead... Neither sensible or patient. She was pretty close to taking me and the other guy at the front of our bunch of 6 out... I wonder how she would have felt had she done so.... BUT still.... They say there is always one, and that goes for cyclists too.... It was only the other night when someone was cycling down the footpath with no lights and nearly took me out .... Hummm maybe I'm the magnet!!? Anyway back to yesterday... The club ride was great and by the time I got home I'd been cycling for over 2.5 hrs for around 40miles... What a great way to spend a Saturday morning, so rewarded myself with a slab of cake and a coffee!

Sunday's have become swim/run Sundays of late.... Well I've done it three times anyway, s nearly a habit?! I was in the pool about 8am and had decided to do sets of 200m, alternating between front crawl and using a pull buoy, until my arms fell off.... Well they didn't quite fall off but I completed 1800m for my longest swim since before I got ill in 2012... So happy with that... This time my reward was coffee and newspapers and back to bed for breakfast in bed!!

Some time and much phaffing later I headed out for my run.... Apparently I've signed up for a half in, oh, a couple of weeks time. So thought a long run should be in order... Despite my legs feeling like heavy weights dangling from my hips... I plodded out 9miles so there is a remote possibility of me finishing the half, albeit in a PW!
So the weekend that was; 40miles bike, 1800m swam and 9 miles run....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 09, 2014


Yoga 25mins before breakfast. You can call this a recovery type of day...

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Even shorter...

Got up... Eventually...

Put on run stuff and headed out...

Was not loving it after a k or so... Yet enjoyment is my aim of running... So decided to "spice" things up a bit... So I mixed in some sprinting "like a dog going after a ball"... Some leaping... "like I knew how to leap"... Some "flicks, kicks and side way Sinbad"... Just to really make an idiot of myself (lucky it was still dark).. Oh and some "walking" because my heart was pounding... And then some jogging too... Somehow mixing it up like this I managed to run 5k in just about 31mins and it was much more fun then the first km!

Not completely done I added a skimble "core & stretches" when I got home.

And then I went to work...

.... That was Day 8 of #janathon but my first official run of Jantastic and WinterMilesChallenge !

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Emergency Janathon bedtime post

Woke up
Thought about doing a turbo session.... And actually did! 30mins "Steele" basically warm up and 3 times 3 min intervals with 3 min recovery...

Remembered I had a meeting first thing at work so promptly abandoned the bike and turbo set up in the living room and went to work...


Got home seeing my abandoned trainer and knowing I still had 30mins left of the programme I had been watching got back on the bike (having changed out of work gear) for another 30min "Steele" .... Thought about a quick run off the bike (as it wasn't raining) but decided I didn't want to peak too soon and use up all my energy so settled for a shower instead.

Have eaten and now it's time for bed... Just getting today's Janathon in J.I.T ... Well in time for today although strictly speaking I do have until tomorrow to post. ... Still another day done... BOoM!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 06, 2014

Do Yoga With Me?

Monday is more of a rest and recovery day with some yoga first thing and optional evening dip in the local swimming pool....

Now I've said before and I'll say again - if you want to do a little yoga session at home then you could do no better then going to take a look at "Do Yoga With Me" really well led on line classes which you have no excuse not to do as they are free (assuming you bear no additional costs getting on line in the first place!)... When I travel and have little opportunity for anything else I will often go to the website and do a 30min - 60min class. My preferred trainer is Melissa McLeod, very good pace, narrative and excellent for someone less yogi like me. If you want something hard core then I'd suggest one of Fiji McAlpine's sessions - I've barely lasted the distance with those!

Anyway back to today  - the outline plan was to Yoga on awakening and then see how I felt about a little technique based swim this evening.... however those plans were left a little in tatters this morning when for some reason I didn't wake up at the usual early time... although to be honest I know the reason - it was because I had a fidgety night!! Anyway... having got 16min into my Yoga I was shouted up to to come and help with a mouse rescue! Yes this wet weather is giving our youngest cat much mousing opportunity and he came in with another live one which required capture and replacement to the forest. This of course put the household back so Yoga session was swiftly replace with getting ready for work session and leaving before the traffic got too insane!

At some point this morning my upper back then decided it had had enough and got all knotted up.... so I decided rather then go and swim, possible with one arm or no breathing, that I'd come home get the dinner on (Cauliflower cheese) and do the yoga session again! This time I got all the way through and even managed to sneak in my Level 1 #FitTeam14 squats and lunges after to boot.

#Janathon Day 6 = DONE (30mins + 16mins of Yoga and 30 squats and lunges (10,8,6,4,2)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A quickie before bedtime

A quick blog that is.... It is Janathon afterall...

Got up saw a spectacular sun rise on the way to the pool.. did my longest swim in nearly 2years clocking a non amazing 1500m in total (a mix of distances, drills etc)

Came home and made myself a breakfast smoothies with the standard yogurt, milk, banana and oats and added peas (as we had some left over from pie night)... Whilst this is certainly an unusual way of getting a portion of veg in the diet I didn't find it too offensive and found it provided suitable energy for my long run....

Having digested my pea smoothie I ventured out, in a rain free period, for my long(ish) run. Main objective to take it easy with a low HR and cadence around 85. Managed to miss most of the flooded areas and did 12.5k in 1hr 20...  Smacked the last k at just over 5min k pace... Which shows how slow I was running the rest of it... But did have a lovely time ans smiled and said hi to everyone I saw on the way!

Janathon Day 5 done :)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Rain = Turbo!

Well it's been lashing it down since before Christmas I'm sure... ok so at least for days... the ground and roads are soaked and the puddles are becoming little lakes... so it came as no surprise to see all the club rides cancelled this morning. To be honest I was already thinking on the way home from work last night that riding today would not be a good idea - even if we had no more rain there is so much debris in the roads.... so when I woke up at about 6:30 and heard rain well I made my decision and went back to sleep.... then when I got up later I saw all the cancellation emails... No matter I got myself a new turbo from decathlon a month or so ago....

So after MUCH procrastination (some would call that phaffing) I sorted both a suitable trainer road session and some TV on catch up from the iPlayer (BBC). ..... 2 hours worth of it... the session itself was an endurance session, so nothing near anaerobic.... just 2 hours of peddaling.... I must wriggle around a lot when I'm riding out doors because I sure was getting uncomfortable in the saddle by the end of it!

Not satisfied entirely with this 2 hour mammoth session I had had a little word with myself and said if it wasn't raining when I finished then I'd go for a run around the block straight after (KEEN I know, I can't even remember the last time I did a brick session).... so anyway.. given it has been raining for days this wasn't a likely outcome - so I thought.... alas ...I finished my turbo session, looked out.... squinted hard... and despite the gloom it wasn't actually raining... so I put on a jacket and my trainers and headed out.... approximately 90 seconds later it started raining... how typical! Still I covered a little 1.2km run in about 6mins.

Janathon Day 4 done...
Turbo Bike - 2hrs
Run - 6mins

Whilst on the trainer road site earlier I saw a link to "Tour of Sufferlandia" which you can consider as 9 days of bike focus training.... or 9 days of suffering on the bike... anyway.. despite the running I will be doing as part of Winter Miles and Jantastic I may put myself through that too... although that could be one sign up too many!!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Day 3 Swim

Given the amount of rain we have had recently and continue to have (have you seen the forecast!)... I decided to go swimming this morning... not just in my garden either but down at the local pool. 

I had no fixed agenda but ended up doing a CSS swim test... covering the 400m in 7:15 and 200m in about 3:30 (I say about as I handily hit the "delete" button from my swim watch so can't quite remember but it was something like that)... so putting in my numbers to SwimSmooth's site I get a CSS of 1:53 which is a little shocking as I've not been back in the water long ... I guess my technique must be coming back quite quickly.... just got to work on the endurance side of it then.

I exited the pool having done 400m FC, 200m Drill, 200mFC, 200mPB and 100m of mixed for a low but exciting total of 1100m in about 26mins or something like that.

I may or may not get any more activity in today... but at least #Janathon Day 3 is done :)

Oh and on other news I seemed to have got a bit carried away with myself and signed up for both Jantastic and Winter Miles Challenge if these don't help me have a bit of a run focus I don't know what will (as long as I don't forget I signed up for them!!!)

That is all on Day 3!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

So what did you do on Day 2

Woke up late... so the intended morning swim was a no go if I was going to make it to work for my 8:30 (which got cancelled incidentally at 8:31... so I could have gone... but anyway).. .so given I wasn't doing that but wanted to get something in at least I participated in the January #FitTeam14 Challenge and did my level 1 squats and lunges... except I may not have because I did 8 Squats, 8 Lunges, 6S, 6L, 4S, 4L, 2S, 2L... and I think I should have started at 10... a-hem... still 20 Squats and 20 Lunges before breakfast isn't too shabby a start to the day!

Got home at 6:30 and something weird came over me as I decided on the way home that I was going to head out for a run (two runs in two days is practically unheard of for me anyway... so weird)... I intended a quick lap to the shops and back using as many short cuts as possible this is possible a 10min run... and then well basically I seemed to be enjoying myself and so ran for just over 20mins! Weird huh!

Not done with that when I got home I added a short Skimble session (phone app thingy) and did something called "Strengthen and Stabilize" which was supposed to be with a Bosu thingy... well we don't have one of those and frankly I found it hard enough - mainly sets of core work (plankety plank etc)... so that was 14mins of extra homework....

Janathon still on track which is not really a massive achievement given it is only Day 2...

Summary Day 2
Squats and Lunges
Ran 3:53km
Core Strength work for 14min (with little stabilisation involved as no Bosu!)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Yep.. Day 1 Done = I'm in!

Day 1 of Janathon went a bit like this.

SLEEP sleep sleep sleep some more and then..... snooze

Finally awaking from my super sleep slumber at about midday... so that meant any idea of starting the New Year with a Park Run was gone.... but that was ok because I didn't have that idea anyway....

Finally decided to head out to the woods behind the house at about 2pm for a few kms of relaxed activity... some jogging with some side stepping, leaping, bounding, hopping, lunging and squatting (just squats mind I wasn't doing the squating for any other toiletry purposes...)... I probably looked a little bit weird given it was pissing it with rain, everywhere was very muddy and I am a middle aged woman.... luckily I only came across normal dog walking people when I was jogging.... but anyway... I HAD FUN and that is what getting fit should be about really shouldn't it.

Not content with all that when I got home I got out my phone and into "Workout Trainer" App for a quick SKIMBLE, I chose the 12min30s "Core Abs & Stretches" routine.

and then... just for the hell of it... I decided I also wanted to see how many press-ups I can do before collapse (3.... long gone are by 40+ days, but that was a decade ago)... and how many burpees... just because I don't think I've done those in years... surprised myself with 5...

Given it is the 1st day of January and the first day of Janathon I fear I may have peaked too soon!!

If you are keen for something else to get into during January (and the rest of the year for that matter), take a look at Stuart Amory on youtube and Twitter @StuartAmory PT and get into #FitTeam14 !!