Friday, 30 November 2012

Biker Boys.

Today is about trying to improve my 5k time. 10:05 minute miles is my best recent time, so shall be looking for 9:55, and if I come out with 10:00, I'll be happy.
Today is also about going to the dentist.
I know which one will be more fun.
It's only a check up, but they always lead to bad things, and my dentist is incompetent.

I gave my arms a day off yesterday, so will also be blasting them with weights later.

To stop myself ending up in a sit-com style situation, I shall be seeing Biker A on Saturday night, and Biker B (also known as Boxer Boy) on Sunday night. A table has been booked for Saturday, apparently there's a special Christmas tapas on. I do like a man who thinks to book.
He's 42, so maybe it's the sensibleness of years.
Biker B is 33. It may all be a waste of time as I'm not sure what's going on in his head. Especially since he texted me to tell me he'd just totally shaved his head. So not the weather to be doing that!
I think I might buy him a woolly hat...or a wig.

This one would also keep his neck warm.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

2013 - Year Of Awesomeness

While I hate the whole new year party shenanigans, I do like the goal setting and fresh start aspect.
So I have new notebooks at the ready, and a brand new set of goals that I WILL achieve.

45 min 10k
2 hour half
4 hour marathon
Swim a mile in 40 mins
10 chin ups
Cycle 100 miles
The events I want to do are Mintlaw 10k, at least one duathlon, Ythan Challenge (but is hard to get into, very popular) Garioch half marathon, Baker Hughes 10k (I hate it, but need to get a good time so I can ignore it from then on) at least one standard triathlon and one middle distance (half Iron) triathlon, Moray marathon and towards the end of the year, another duathlon. There is a winter series that I shall be doing one of the last of early next year, and so to do one of the first ones at the end of next year should show a marked improvement. Something I can really measure. 
I also want to shift 20lbs, and get really, really good at yoga. I want to do the yoga teacher training course in 2014, and the one I want to do is a 200 hour residential intense one that anyone can do, as they say you don't have to be able to do the poses to be able to teach them safely.
However, I do want to be able to complete all of the poses. I do think a teacher should be able to practise what she preaches.
 My swim yesterday was rather good. I don't think I was much faster, but I felt stronger, and like I could go on forever. If anything I was slower, but the steadyness and concentration was almost zen like, and I didn't come out feeling as dead as usual after the same amount of time.
 The other thing is I'm in the process of arranging a date for this weekend, but I'm already booked to go out with a bloke on what is a 'kind of' date. I was thinking of making them both the same day, as one (the more date like one) has suggested dinner at a venue of my choice (The Beautiful Mountain, thank you very much) and the other is a drink at Slains Castle (a pub almost opposite) and it would save petrol to only go to Aberdeen once. However, that could all end badly. So we'll see.....I might err on the side of caution.
It's going to be difficult and confusing enough as it is, both are rough biker types, both oil engineers, both do a lot of travelling, etc. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


AGAIN with the green stuff.

Today I decided to make it an orange juice heavy smoothie, in the hope that the strong flavour would make the raw spinach more bearable.
It did. This bubbly concoction is spinach, orange juice, banana and protein powder.
And the vitamin C from the orange will help me absorb the iron better.

I'm aware this looks very much like yesterday's picture, but it tasted a hell of a lot better, and the straw is a different colour.
And I took garlic capsules amongst other things, and made a lentil and vegetable stew for dinner (again, looked like vomit, but tasted nice)

I am also considering going back on the pill as it makes things more predictable, and when it comes to events, I can manipulate my cycle by not taking a break between packets.
Also, nature has cursed me with a 21 day cycle.
Great if you want to have lots of babies, and are happy to lay 15 eggs a year instead of 12, not so, if you don't.

Today is a multi sport day. I will bike fast, and swim slowly. I'm still going through drills and only doing about 20 lengths of normal swimming. And I will eat more brown rice and tofu, and lift more weights, drink more spinach (shudder) and strive, STRIVE!
Strive at my goals like a striving thing.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Clean (And Green) Eating

I feel the urge to eat well.
Junk food is not appealing, as so today nothing processed (well, not very processed) has passed my lips.

Yesterday I had porridge for breakfast, protein shake and some pasta for lunch, and brown rice with tomatoes and tofu for dinner, and various dried fruit bits and pieces. I didn't take any pictures of the meals as generally plates of mixed ingredients look like vomit.
However, this is a smoothie I made today as I fancied something green, and according to a woman on the internet, this is a non-healthy tasting spinach smoothie, that is healthy.

Spinach, dollop of peanut butter, a banana, rice milk.
And it tastes like spinach, dollop of peanut butter, a banana, and rice milk.
Straw to the back of the throat. Gulp it down with as little to mouth-to-smoothie contact. Done.
Thinking of Popeye the whole time.

And if I ever use the words 'clean' or 'detox', that does not mean I will be excluding tea or chocolate, or bread, etc. It means nothing really junkie or processed like Coke, biscuits and chips.

This is the week of the bike.
There's been a lot of swimming and running going on, this week I will bike lots, swim once and run twice, a 5k and a 10k, and will do 5 sessions with my weights.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Aim High, Fall Slighty Short.

Well yesterday started out rather awesome. I did stick in the 10.45 min mile bracket (or rather, 10.20 for the first 5k, all over the place for the next, still getting the hang of pacing) and came out with an average of 10.48, and took 1 minute 32 seconds off my 10k. The best part is my legs were sore and heavy when I started (and screaming and swearing at me by the time I finished) and it was still a result.

There's this friend who wants me to do the winter duathlon series with him, and he will be offshore for one, and I was thinking of having a go at it then, as I get the feeling he only wants me there to ensure he doesn't come last. I wanted to get a head-start on the whole thing and do myself proud.
He timed himself on a dummy run and came out at 1.42. Then he suddenly decided to do the Inverurie one this weekend and came out at a respectable 1.35 (the slowest person on previous results is about 2 hours), so plenty of people behind him.
He sent me a joyous text shortly after finishing, and said he'll be emailing me a full race report and he can't wait until the next one.  I said lots of congratulatory things and told him I was proud of him, but was thinking 'Oh bollocks' in a sour grapes kind of way.

This will be the first time I enter anything almost certain in the knowledge I am going to come last, and that really sucks all the fun out of it.

And as a total contrast, Martin (East Coast Runner)  ran the Seattle Marathon in 3:03:09, with jet lag.
Just, wow! He will be at Aberfeldy when I do my first middle distance triathlon. He'll be finishing so far ahead of me he can wait at the finish line and be ready to help peel me off the tarmac, and help me to my car.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Feel The Burn!

Bit of a crap bike yesterday, 20 miles at an average of 15 mph.
The only upside is, the 20 mile circle I do is 75% uphill. One part is so horrible I'm happy to be able to climb at 7 mph, and that goes on for nearly 2 miles. I'm going to see if I can find a flatter route, or at least and out and back, so I'll get as much uphill as downhill, and see how they go. I had really been hoping to sustain a 17mph pace for the full 20 miles, even with the hills.

The main thing was I felt frozen the whole way round. The road was icy, my gloves were not good enough, and I just couldn't warm up. My skin was bright red with the cold, and became insanely itchy in the hot shower. I was like a big itchy, lobster.

Today is about trying to improve my 10k time, although my legs feel a bit fried, so not sure how that is going to go, and tomorrow I'll go for a swim, as I think my legs will be needing it.

And my arms were burning when I woke up yesterday morning, I could almost feel the heat coming off them, felt kind of awesome, really.
Increased bloody flow. Yeah.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

I (Slightly) Rock.

A little more progress :)

The plan was to do 5k yesterday, and to try and keep the Garmin between 10 and 10.15 min miles, which I managed nicely, and averaged 10.05, and so cut exactly 30 seconds off my time. It's still a far cry from my fastest, but the constant improvement is encouraging.

I've been reading about 'Less-destructive training'.
There's a book I will buy myself after Christmas, when my mechanic has stopped bleeding my dry, on marathon training, by Nikalas Cook. I plan on doing a marathon in 2013, and as I want to do everything I can to minimise the risk of injury.
I seem to be surrounded by injured runners, people waiting for surgery, people having MRIs, and the 30 second improvement today I'm sure was helped my giving my legs an easier week with lots of swimming. As a triathlete, Cook is apparently all about using less destructive training as a way to prepare for a marathon. I think 'prepare' might be the operative word, rather than 'win' or 'sub 3 hour', but that's fine with me. 

I will bike today, and then do a 10k tomorrow, with the aim of 10.45 min miles. I'd like to say 10.30, but that might be a bit ambitious, as 11.03 was my time last week, so to knock nearly 20 secs off a mile will be enough to make me happy.

Possibly going out next week with a boxer type boy (but who is also an engineer working in the oil business, as most men round here are). I'd like to take my gloves and get him to do some pad work with me, but that might not be appropriate.
He seems quite normal, and I'm really hoping there will be no Guinness burping.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gonna Get Buffed, Man!

Well high wind and rain ruined my planned time trial (it would have severely disabled me or been an unfair advantage), so rather than my usual 1 hour swim, I aimed to do 1 hour 15 mins continuously, of crawl and drills.

Before I've had to stop at the end every few lengths for a bit of a breather, but today I just kept moving, only pausing briefly to pick up/put down pull buoy.
I wasn't any faster, but definitely feel more swim-fit, and the DOMS in my arms felt better when I got out of the pool, too.

I can see all kinds of new muscle going on.
Maybe this is the upside to being one of those people that always put weight on easily, my body is also happy to make muscle. I generally take showers as I'm very careful with the heating oil, but had a bath last night and was looking at my arms and legs and bloody hell. New shapes all over the shop.

I want to look like this.^^  Slim, but with muscular definition.
And be able to shift washing machines when necessary.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Yesterday was a whole big bundle of stress, so the most I did was weights at home, as I was imprisoned there due to circumstances beyond my control.

I did some more of my girly-almost-off-the-floor-by-an-inch chin ups, planking, wall sits, and lots of abs. I also gave my home-made punchbag what for. I have not been awake long, and fear I may have disabled myself, as my arms feel like they've been through a mangle. I tried to stretch them out and ended up with cramp in my neck. And it will probably be worse tomorrow.

So, today will be a triple hitter.
I will run, and see how fast I can go, and how fast I can cycle on the flat at full pelt, and some nice swimming drills. I'm not going to time my swim, as it's always depressing, and I'll be pretty knackered by then as I'm going at lunch time, when the level of annoying people at the pool is at a minimum.

And of course when my Turbo Fire arrives I will not just have sore arms, EVERYTHING will hurt.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Piss Off, Bambi!

Funny old work bike commute.

Even though the sign said the roadworks were only for a week, they were still there, and I went through that bit where last week I had to carry my bike over big gaps as the nice man let me through.
Seems they are now re-surfacing it, and the men are not very nice!
I sneaked though as there was no one around, but they were all at the far end laying tarmac. I got off my bike and luckily there was quite a wide verge before the stone wall of the neighbouring field began, and walked my bike along there, whilst giving the workmen a cheery wave and a wide berth, but they all scowled at me, in a 'You shouldn't be here' type of way.

The wind was horrendous on the way home. From the top of the big hill coming out of Rosehearty I could see 5 tankers and supply boats sat out, unable to get into Aberdeen Harbour, probably the same story all along the coast.

The moon was periodically helping me see when it poked out through the clouds, and at one point I saw a shape moving across the field to my left at an astonishing rate, and I was sure it was an owl about to fly across me, so slowed down. However, it was a panic-filled deer, and as he came flying over the hedge I swerved to the right and my back wheel slid from under me and I kind of just sat down on the road, really.
It wasn't very dramatic. The deer was mega spooked, it kind of kicked up in the air. I think where I was going into a headwind it hadn't been able to smell me (not that I smell bad, you understand) so it was shocked I was there.  

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Rock Hard Abs, Feel The Burn!!

Taff is sending me this.

It looks like torture, and that's not a bad thing. It's like those Insanity workouts.
I'm thinking I do want to be strong all over, and I was reading about Ironman Linsay Corbin, and she's very big on strength workouts, which take her total weekly train up to 34 hours a week or so (which includes the yoga she does on her day off). The thing is, I am bothered about what I look like, the shape, not just the fitness. I want to be slim, but I'd rather be slightly slower but be strong with it. Women need to do weight bearing exercise to protect against osteoporosis, as well as studies have shown it can also help prevent dementia.
I also want a decent stomach. It has been too ravaged by a large baby and stretchmarks for it to ever be good enough to show in public, but I could still get some rock hard abs and definition. And be able to bounce medicine balls off of it.

Did 40 mins of swimming as it was supposed to be an easy day, most of which were drills. I didn't feel tired by it at all, and did lots of side kicking. 

And guess who's offered to help me with my car, and I've said yes? (I really can't be giving the garage any more money, they have Grinched my Christmas away already.)


Go on, guess.

Yep, that's right. (this bit is only relevant for anyone who knows me, apologies if you're thinking 'Eh?')


I'm not sure if this is going to happen or how it will pan out, but what I do know is I'm not going to shave my legs beforehand, as that's the best insurance policy ever. I am not Bridget Jones, nothing would happen if I was wearing big knickers. Or had hairy legs.

That is because it's not a sensible road to go back down. But he was the most fun bloke ever. No one has come close in the making me laugh stakes, and there's nothing wrong with being friends. Lots of time has passed, so should be OK.
I think.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Week 7

Yesterdays activity was all about seeing where I'm at. How strong am I?
I tried my chin-up bar for the first time in months, and managed to just get my feet off the ground. I'm going to try it next standing on a stool, and see if I can actually do a half chin-up.
I got my weights out and did the same sort of things, trying to see how much I could lift doing a pec fly laying on my back. Not as much as I'd hoped.

Still, it's good to know where I am so I can build on it. Today I am going swimming, and will do lots of drills, but this week I will also be clocking how fast I can cycle and run, even if it is just momentarily.
I need to log it all accurately and plot my progress. I hadn't made any for a while, until yesterday, and it's incredibly motivating to see improvement. I also saw someone I've not seen since September and he was all 'Wow, you've lost sooo much weight!' which was rather nice to hear, too.

And I'm pretend engaged a fell-running fireman I know. If we're both single in 5 years we're going to have a Batman wedding. However, this means I'd have to wear a Catwoman outfit, and that requires a phenomenal figure. Ha! And regular brides worry about how they look in a white dress.....pretend Catwoman brides have things way harder.

So, this weeks plan -

Monday - Swimming

Tuesday - 30 mile bike

Wednesday - Swimming

Thursday - Running and cycling time trialling

Friday - Swimming

Saturday - 10k

Sunday - 5k

There are no rest days, as I've had a few recently, and the swimming days aren't very hardcore, and the time trialling may be intense, but only for a short amount of time.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Saturday Ying Yang

Two things, one good, one bad.

I was limited for time yesterday morning, and still wasn't feeling great, so just did 5k. I had hoped to run in the 10.30 min mile region, but as it was I averaged 10.15, took nearly whole minute off last months 5k time. And I reckon I can improve on that still by the end of the month.
A good thing.

Then I went shopping with a man who had downed two pints of Guinness before he met me, and so burped alcoholic burps at me in close quarters all afternoon. He's nice. But smells like a brewery.
A bad thing.


Shall get my road bike out today, get some fun speedy miles done.
Protein shake.
Early night.

Rock 'n' roll.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

I Have The Power!!!

Everything I had planned for this week has gone wrong.
Whether it be snot, or other people disrupting me and my plans, I have done hardly anything, just a few days of running and one poor swim. I have eaten badly and lost out on sleep.
My run this morning was abandoned due to thinking I was going to puke.

But I will not dwell.

My foot had been slightly twingey, so I'm choosing to believe this enforced rest will have done it good.
I am planning my meals and activity for next week now, and I will repair everything, and then some.
This week is going to be really, really good. I have a few days off so will put in some proper multisport training, as well as concentrating on swimming as I had planned.
It is going to be an awesome eating and an awesome training week. (See that? Itallic AND bold. I mean business!)
Mega psyched, man!

Friday, 16 November 2012


I was a croaking, sneezing mess yesterday, so some yoga was all I did.
I know they say you can exercise as long as it's your illness is not below the head, but I just want to get better, so I've been filling myself with vitamin C and zinc, and about to leave for a run now before work this morning, aiming for 4 miles at around 10.30 each.

And last night I was tucked up in bed by 8pm with my hot water bottle, laptop (so I could talk rubbish to my friends and lol at pics of a grumpy cat) and watch the most excellent 'Centurion', a film featuring Michael Fassbender (all films should feature him.)

He runs around the Highlands and gets beaten up a lot.

I find films like that quite motivational. Ditto 300. And Gladiator. I quote them at work when things go wrong, along with Lord Of  The Rings. I'm a joy to have in the office.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


I couldn't cycle yesterday, and it's all gone a bit pear shaped this week with stuff getting in the way.

I will go for a little run tomorrow morning before work, and it's not like I never cycle so won't hurt me to have a few days off from it. There's a sore throat rumbling and I need it to piss off, pronto, definitely before Saturday, cos no one wants to go with a girl who sounds like the illegitimate offspring of Marge Simpson and Les Dawson. Although he is aware of my normal voice, too. Maybe I should record myself speaking now before things get too bad.. It'll be like in Home Alone 2 when Kevin plays previously recorded answers rather than actually speaking to people.

I have decided to do some focusing on certain areas. Next week will be swimming heavy.
I'm not good or fit enough to be trying to get good at everything at once, but I don't want to neglect anything too much either. I just want to slow down a bit and concentrate on what I'm doing, then when I'm better at it, then get good at doing three things at once.
I have some leave next week so will only be biking the once, and will do two runs, and three swims.

Kona 2012 is now on Youtube. Huzzah!


Very scary how these people being interviewed at the beginning, these people who live and breathe Ironman, are paid to do it and seem so confident can, like Chris McCormack, end up dropping out. Or like previous 3 time winner Craig Alexander, not even make the top ten.

Just finishing is a very nice goal to have indeed, getting a reasonable time will be an awesome bonus.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Well I didn't cut 40 seconds off.
It was exhausting, cold and windy, and I was tired to start with. And what's worse, I had to stop as there was a gritty feeling in my shoe, and was MOUSE POO!. I stopped and shook it out, but there's nothing like running along with a mouse toilet on your foot. I have to stop keeping my shoes in the porch. The cat drops mice off in there and they hide in my shoes until she's bored and leaves them alone long enough for them to flee the premises.

I usually only run about twice a week, and this was my fourth run in 7 days, and 9 seconds faster was all I could manage. My next 10k will be on Saturday, and all I'll do between now and then is 60 mile bike. Maybe a bit on my cross-trainer on Thursday night.

And I did get a new dress, but it was only £3.19 on eBay so totally doesn't count. Just hope it arrives in time for Saturday.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

HMS Lucy

Well yesterday is going to count as a rest day, as although I went swimming, I wasn't able to do much.
It was heaving, and I took my own kid with me just to make matters worse. The few lanes for proper swimming were mental. Kids. Old people stopping halfway. People who really shouldn't be there.

However, pull buoys, what the bloody hell???
I felt like the good ship Lucy.
And in danger of capsizing, as my rotation was all over the place to start with.
I kept crossing my arms in front of myself, but once I'd calmed down, I realised I was shifting. The end of the pool approached like an iceberg. I was nearly 15 seconds faster! My cadence was higher too, the whole thing felt like a bit of a panic and my arms were burning after 100m of that.

Still, it was fun, and while dodging the kids, I also tried side kicking drills again, but this time without a kickboard, and was much quicker, probably as my body was lower and legs higher, so I was in a straighter line.

Then I came home and fixed my bike chain using a proper pin, which went well. I took pictures to demonstrate this, but they were so boring I'm not going to post them. So here is a pic of a crocheted scene from 'The Exorcist' instead.

10k again today, hoping to cut the 40 secs off.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Week 6

So I thought it was my rumbling stomach waking me up yesterday morning.
I am a real morning eater, if I didn't have breakfast I'd faint on the way to work.
As I came to, I realised it was a bit of an odd noise for my body to be making, and in my confused state, looked out my window to see this lovely lady.

I thought about going and trying to sort her out, but she seemed quite happy, and I have experience of trying to catch a livestock, it doesn't always end well.
Luckily when I went running I saw the sheep man and just told him where she was. He's about 90, but surprisingly nimble.

So I tried my 10k, with an eye on my Garmin, and managed to average 11:04 minute miles. Could have been worse, I suppose, but was 40 seconds slower overall than I had been hoping for.
I have now set the pace alerts and the little man virtual training partner thing for next time.

Today I am going swimming. It's an inset day so hopefully the place won't be crawling with kids. I have been reading this book to get some ideas on drills, and have my pull buoy all ready to go.
It's occured to me that my kicking is so poor I might actually be faster without it....

I also hope the pins arrive for my chain. I have found a calcuation formula for how long a chain should be with lots of diagrams that I can't make head or tail of, and really wish I'd kept the old one!
However, I have also found a video that is a little easier to understand, that says chains should be the length of the distance around the big chain ring and the largest rear cog (missing out the derailleur) plus 3 links, so I'll try that.

So, Week 6

Monday - Swimming

Tuesday - 10k

Wednesday - 30 mile bike

Thursday - rest

Friday - 30 mile bike

Saturday - 10k

Sunday - 1 hour bike of varying intensities - 30 min run

Bit of a crap week as work is all over the place.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Try On ALL The Clothes!

On my bike yesterday I tried out some stuff from the Selene Yeager book, doing intervals of different intensities. She has training plans for all kinds of stuff, and it was interesting to try and apply some ideas and feel the different zones, dictated by something other than terrain.

Then I came home and ripped a load of clothes out of my wardrobe, as I'm out next weekend and need something nice to wear, and as I expect a mechanic's bill to fall through the door soon, I must NOT buy anything new. I also wanted to monitor my size according to my clothes.

I assumed none of my jeans would fit me, but there are one pair that just do, and a pair I can do up if I lay down (but not breathe, or walk, or sit in) and a few pairs I can't even get over my hips.
I can get into the dress I want to wear, but again, I don't look good in it. Yet. So more clothes were hurled out the wardrobe. Plus I need different options as I don't know where I'm going yet. And there's two possibilities of who with too, but I still haven't decided, delaying on both.

That makes me sound like I'm flakey and indecisive. Which is pretty accurate right now. 

Anyway, thought it would be better to illustrate the pile of clothes rather than the squeezing into jeans thing. No one wants to see that.

Today's challenge is an evenly paced 11 min mile 10k. It should come out at 1:08:02. Hmm...we'll see.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Runnin' Along, Lookin' At My Wrist.

PROPER Garmin action yesterday.
I decided to run 5 miles, and to try and average 11 min miles. I picked a route with no stupid hills, and watched the thing like a hawk, and it was much harder than I thought. I'd look and I was doing 10.15, then slow it down, and find I was 11.30. However, it worked out fine as I averaged 10.59, and did 5 miles in 54:54:00 exactly. On Sunday I shall do 10k at that pace, hopefully keeping it a bit more steady, and speed it up from there.

The bike cassette thing went surprisingly well.

Before (In my experience, a Lisa Simpson duvet cover is an ideal floor protector, and Youtube on standby is wise)

 During. Very hard to get off, hurt my finger.

After. Ta daaa! Not sure if it's on tight enough. I'll soon find out if it falls off.


However, when I was running it I noticed it's still slipping, and it seems the link where it joins is opening up, and not bending correctly. I think the chain could do with losing a link or two as well. The derailleur seems higher. I wish I'd counted the links on the old one! I've just read they are usually a couple of links longer than necessary, so at least I can ditch the bent one.

I weighed myself yesterday, too.
I initally thought I'd be happy to lose about a stone and half. I have lost just shy of a stone since starting Iron training, and there is no way I have just half a stone to go. More like another stone and half, that might be possibly enough. We'll see. Depends what size I'm wearing,
I can hear my mum now freaking about about this, as she always says I'm too thin or too fat.
However, I hereby pledge I will have shifted that stone and half by my birthday in February, and more than half of it by Christmas. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

You're That Quinie!

Said the man in the van.

You see the road was closed. There were no signs when I had entered the road, but all of a sudden, there it was, and no diversion was signposted. It was a small country road, so I backed up a little, and went left at a crossroads. After about ten minutes I realised I was just going to someone's farm, so back to the crossroads, and went right instead. This seemed to be taking my very much out of my way and I thought I'd be late for work, so I went back to the roadworks, and scooted through the signs and up to the men sitting in their van drinking their tea. It was wet and windy, and one slowly opened his window. I asked him which way to go, and he said,
'You're that quinie!'
I did think he looked familiar.
'The one fae the council!' he went on (seems he has an elderly relative in my jurisdiction).
I confirmed that was indeed who I was, and he said 'Ach, just go through. There's some big holes so be careful.'
Anyway, he wasn't bloody kidding, at one point there was a trench all the way across the road. It was like a three foot deep chasm. I had my road bike with me, so was able to pick it up easily, and although it was only about two foot wide, jumping across with a bike and backpack (and an audience) was a bit scary.

At work I looked on Google for an alternative route home, but all added about 4 miles, and so I went the same way, but it was much scarier in the dark, with just my head torch to illuminate the trenches. Took quite a while to pick my way through. I was scared if I fell in a big hole my bike might get damaged.

It was quicker going to work on my road bike, there's a hill I always have to push my bike up on the way out of Rosehearty, it's like scaling a cliff. I was once looking out a window at work and saw a cow in a field next to the road slip over while trying to walk down it. However, on my road bike with all it's gears working, I managed it fine. Although it didn't feel as safe when lorries went by me and winde battered me, and my packpack threatened to unbalance me.

Today is all about running. And possibly this cassette business later on, so if it all goes bad I have the weekend to attempt to sort it/go out and get different tools/trip to casualty/etc,


Thursday, 8 November 2012


Well it's here (speedy delivery!), and it's pretty. I will keep it sooooo clean (for about a week)

I shall attempt it at the weekend, in daylight hours. I'll put my glasses on and everything. It looks simple enough on the Youtube vids, although these things often do, but then there'll be something jammed on and I'll end up hitting myself on the head with a spanner and bleeding on the carpet. If you never hear from me again, that is why.

Following a conversation at the weekend, I've been thinking about things I'm scared of.

1. Join a running/tri club.
This is very unlikely to ever happen. I remember trying to conquer this last year but was rejected for not having 7.30 min miles, and was too relieved to be offended.
Whereas joining a boxing club, where men change in full view and everything is sweaty and smelly was a easy. I went on my own and everything, it was fine.

2. Mechanics.
All garages and tyre and exhaust places. Even taking it to my own local garage is a nightmare, and when I ring them up they know my name without me telling them, they are so used to me.
I think it's due to all the awful costs involved over the years. I once had a garage quote me £750 for a steering part (fitted). I had no other choice but to go to a breakers yard and get one. Granted, it saved me £680 (fitted) but that was a very bleak day. The man assumed I was with some blokes who were in before me trying to buy used brake linings, which he wouldn't sell them, and they swore at him, and left, and then he swore at me and told me to get out too. I meekly explained who I was. I hate breakers yards the most.

3. Telephones
Especially at home. Work related phone conversations are ok, because I get paid for them.
I never answer my home phone. In fact, the more it rings, and the more urgent it appears, the less likely I am to answer it.

4. Filling in my tax return.
This is something that could easily fall in the category of just things I dislike, such as the dentist, but it's goes a little beyond that as it causes months of fear and paranoia, and I feel guilty even if I haven't done anything wrong.

5. Pennywise the clown, played by Tim Curry in 'It'.

Given the choice between a morning buying tyres and an afternoon filling in my tax return or doing an Ironman, I'd rather do an Ironman.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cyclists Have Eyes Too, You Bastards.

*Deep breath*

Approaching first big hill, and wonderfully silent and smooth new chain starts to jump and slip. Have to get off and push bike up hardest hills in pissing rain and dark.

Get to work, people insist on being annoying and having petty arguments and making each other actually cry, I mean, what the actual fuck?! Go to order new cassette, discover I have no idea how many teeth old one has, have to think of excuse to detour with work car back to where I left my bike so I can count. Then hurrah! There is an incident, didn't even need to lie.

I rinse and dry my bike clothes, and when I went to get them out the dryer I find a man in his nineties has removed them so he can put his stuff in, and is inspecting my bra.
'Didn't think it belonged to any of the wifies in here.' he says as he hands it over. I feel sullied. It's only a sport's bra, but still. If this is what communal laundries in sheltered housing are like when I'm old, blood will be spilt.

The wind picks up. I set off home with rain blasting in my face, lit in such a way by my head-torch that it looked like driving into snow. So, so wet through, water running off head and down back of neck.  Drenched. Backpack heavy. Bum and saddle soaked, a sore, chaffing nightmare.
Utter blackness. Have to aim my head at the road the whole time to have any idea where I'm going. Neck hurts.

About 50% of cars dip their lights as soon as they see me. About 25% dip them as soon as they see me raise my arm to shield my eyes. The other 25% don't bother at all, making me flail my arm, brake, and swear. And ultimately, a couple of times, fear for my life. This is all I saw, most of the way home.

Then I remembered the time I was sailing with my dad in the winter in rough weather, and his shoes got soaked, and he took them off and big wave came over and took them and the spare shoes away, and he spent the rest of the time barefoot. And we were out there for days. Blue, frozen feet. Made him even less patient with my crappy sailing skills and impressive vomiting skills, but he didn't actually complain once (about the cold feet, never shut up about my puking). So I told myself to-

Worse things happen at sea. And in trenches in wars. You can cycle in cold and dark and wet and wind. Think about hot showers and oven chips.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pulling A Buoy

Today I ordered a pull buoy. I am very much looking forward to it's arrival as I love them, and they have a slightly rude name, but it's not the wisest move as I know it's my legs that are the problem, and I should be more worried about them.

My drills were horrific. It's my legs, man. They're just rubbish.
I thought I was swimming more evenly, but nope, I suck. When I did side kicks, the right was slow but the left was actually stationary. I slowed after the initial push off, and then judging by the markings along the side of the pool, stopped. I kicked really hard and still nothing happened, so before flirty lifeguard thought I was drowning and jumped in, I switched back to the right. I think I must have been bending my knees too much or something. For the next few weeks I am going to be all about the kickboard and pull buoy. It won't be fun, but dammit, I will do this right.
People keep saying with triathlons it's wise to save the legs, but I at least need to be able to use them in the first place, if I then choose not to kick so much, fair enough, but I shouldn't be not using my legs because they are shite.

I can heartily endorse the ZMA. I wake up in the morning feeling like a collie on speed. Yesterday I was awake at 5.30, and it was my day off. It doesn't make me fall asleep earlier, but when I am asleep I stay there, and it's good quality snoozin' time.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Week 5

Sooooooo cold yesterday morning.
It hurt to breathe. Thick ice on the small, untreated roads. At one point when I was climbing, my back wheel kept spinning out, my brakes levers froze and my bike was still doing it's wacky gear change thing at the time, but in spite of all that I did feel I was enjoying it. My legs were achey from running the day before, and thought I'd find it hard going, but it was a beautiful morning and even the ride home with all the uphills was ok.

I really need to get my 10k speed up. I'm going to use a flat route and monitor my pace and keep it nice and steady, and see how that alters things. It seems I effectively need to learn to run, as well as swim and cycle.

The plan for week 5 -

Monday - Gentle swim, thinking about form, doing some drills, averting eyes from the elderly Monday man and his trunks that don't house him adequately. + 30 min run

Tuesday - 30 mile bike

Wednesday - Rest (BOOO!)

Thursday - 30 mile bike

Friday - 1 hour run

Saturday - 20 mile road bike 'fun' circuit.

Sunday - 1 hour run

So that's one proper rest day, and one easy day.

I'm also drinking my protein, taking my ZMA, and trying to be in bed for 10.30. Even if I don't sleep and just lay there reading, I'm in the right place.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Motivation. Petty, Petty Motivation.

My friends are lovely people.
The hands down funniest moment of my life is when the other Lucy was sat in her totally frozen car (during a mega cold snap, about -15), and I thought I'd be clever by getting some cold water to throw at her windows to help, and began to squirt a 2 litre bottle of water from my boot with chunks if ice in it, at her window just as she rolled the heavily frosted glass down, thereby soaking her with freezing water. I was laughing too much to explain, but luckily she was laughing too and didn't kill me, and I literally did nearly pee myself.

I have also been blessed with yet more things in the post. Cat re-homed some protein powder my way, and it's handy as it has no flavour, so can be added to anything I can chuck in my blender. Pam sent me a whole tub of ZMA and the bestest soya beans ever (they are open in the photo as I had started eating them). My mountain bike has been misbehaving and will be a patient in Kevin's Hospital For Poorly Bikes this evening, so all in all, I'm a very lucky gal.

The other supplements in the picture are things I'm taking reasonably regularly, a few times a week or so.

And I noticed on Facebook someone I don't like will also be doing the Lumphanan 10k at new year. He is faster than me, and probably has a 50 min 10k. I won't be able to beat him with just 8 weeks to go, but I will be faster than I am now, and not disgrace myself. At Baker Hughes last year there was a girl who annoys me (just for her terrible driving, she tears about like a nutter and nearly ran me into a ditch once) and I was determined to beat her, and I did, but she was nearly and hour and half for a 10k, so beating that is no great achievement. So yes, I'm petty, but I'll be damned if he has time to finish and get his stuff together and have gone home by the time I reach the line.

Sitting And Planking

Yesterday was horrible in a work sense, and to cheer myself up I bought Green Lantern on DVD in Tescos. I'd heard it was terrible, so avoided it up until now, but then, it's got Ryan Reynolds in it, so realistically, how bad could it be for a fiver?

Superhero films always make me want to be a bit more muscular and Wonder Woman like.
I have some weights I use regularly, but I've decided to up things by doing a ludicrous amount of planking and wall sits. The first time I did a wall sit I managed about 30 seconds, built it up to a couple of minutes and until last week hadn't done one for 18 months. It must be all the biking and I did 1.30 easily, and only stopped because the phone was ringing (I was at work, I have a duty to answer it there, if I'd have been at home I would have ignored it, as usual.)
My plan is to wall sit for for 1 min and plank for 30 seconds, every hour I'm at work.
That's 4 mins of planking and 8 of wall sits.
Then I'll up it, and plan a total of half an hour of this each work day. I can work whilst doing these things. I spend a lot of time on hold to IT waiting to report my broken down printer.
I have a pull-up bar at home that I occasionally hang from. I hereby pledge to be able to do at least one pull up by Christmas.

I'm doing lots of overtime next week as I'm supposed to be off but I'm going to work though it. It's going to dictate my training plan and so shall be very bike based. I've been asking other bike commute people what they do to make it a lot less hassle.
I have started buying knitted dresses to wear with leggings as they don't get wrinkly, and I keep some boots and a coat in the boot of my work car. It's the getting cleaned up that takes the most time, and I also like to wash and dry my bike clothes  ready for the retun jounney (sheltered housing schemes have laundries I can invade) as I seem to get wet everyday. Even if it doesn't rain, there's often surface water and mud to be sprayed at me. One person I know said he takes one of those little microfibre towels that we got used to seeing divers use for when he showers at work, to save space.
The lovely Anneke is also a fan of non-iron dresses and keeping shoes at work, but her main piece of advice to cycle commuters is "stop caring what you look like".

Fair enough.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Learing To Ride A Bike

So it seems I need to learn to ride a bike (again).

The fabulous book I'm reading has opened my eyes to all the things I should be doing, such as how I position my body on the bike.

The actual physics of riding is not something I had ever considered, when the stand up to allow the rear wheel to clear an obstacle with minimum weight, and when to sit down to add traction. Right now I stand up over bumps for the sake of my butt, nothing else.
It had never occurred to me that there would be a technique to emergency stops, that I should be lowering and forcing my body back, and that a sudden right hand swerve required a slight flick to the left first.
It's not going to come naturally, but there's a nice section that details all these things for me to have a practise at.

Yesterday was a reasonably bad day at work that started too early and finished too late, because other people are a bit rubbish. I did some press ups, planking and wall sits in my office, and some yoga when I got home. Today will be worse as there are more people to disagree with, and my bike is poorly so can't cycle, but have just been for an early, headtorch-lit run, again, obeying the numbers on my Garmin. And dutifully logging all my food and activity. And yesterday I paid some bills and bought my nephew a birthday present. And cooked a proper dinner.

It won't last. As this is why I'll never be an adult. 

Keeping Records Like A Grown Up

I'm gonna get organised in a new-fangled fashion.
To take this seriously and properly monitor things, I have to keep accurate records. I've always shied away from doing that, as I don't really want to know how crap I am.

However, not any more.

I have been given a very comprehensive spreadsheet to log my activity, that has more columns and sections  than I ever would have thought of including, and I've started using Food Focus as it works out all my calories, deducts my exercise, and draws a nice little pie chart of how much protein and carbs I have had. This is not to just for weight loss purposes, but also making sure I eat a sensible amount of calories on days I'm not very hungry, and to keep an eye on my protein. And finally I made a little table for vitamins and supplements, as often I forget to take these things regularly.  They don't need to be taken daily, but I have a nasty habit of forgetting to take iron, and then getting anaemic.

So bingo, bango, hopping to it, gonna do this thang!

And swimming was good, although I was flanked on either side by fast blokes who bring water bottles, have fancy swim watches and swim literally twice as fast as me.
Come back slow old ladies who get in my way, all is forgiven.