Sunday, 31 March 2013

3 Weeks To Go

It's three weeks today until my first triathlon.
I  need to do more brick sessions. My training in general needs more structure.
I need to be faster. Thinner. Stronger. EVERYTHING!!
As of next week, I am going to start doing things a bit more seriously.

I will do one good brick a week. This week will be a 12 mile bike with a 5 mile run after, and I will increase the bike by a mile or two a week, and the run by half a mile, three weeks out of four. That will have me up to the half-iron bike and run distance in good time, also allowing for a taper.

I will do one long run a week until the marathon (with a dialled down week inbetween, and a taper towards the end) then after that I will start concentrating on more long bikes.
I will also do a medium size run of 10 miles or so once a week as well, which I hope will get quicker and quicker. With the long run and the brick run, that's three good ones a week.
And my swim needs some structure, too. I will alternate between speed, drills, etc one week (the week I am working more and pushed for time) and then distance the following week.

Today I am just going to go on the cross trainer for 40 mins or so, and do lots of core work and press ups. My knee is a lot better this morning, but the last couple of days were a bit heavy, so need a little recovery.

Tomorrow I have to wait in from 8:00 to 18:00 for the Autoglass man to come and fix my windscreen. I really hope he comes early, or at least in the afternoon, I HAVE TRAINING!!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

New Shoooooze!! (again, dammit)

I am learning things about weighing myself.
If I weigh myself after a long run, I am, unsurprisingly, lighter (dehydrated).
If I weigh myself the next day, I am heavier (probably water retaining, swollen muscles, again, dehydrated)
If I weigh myself after an easy day of exercise or rest, I see a loss, so tomorrow I'll just have a quick jog after work (not before, some crap about the clocks changing will already be making me get up an hour earlier than I'd like for work) and weigh in on Monday morning.

I biked to work today, and man, how hard are mountain bikes??
I had forgotten, it was like pedalling a breeze block.

There was a fresh layer of snow, and in some of the rougher tracks where the deep puddles were icy, I had to walk a bit after a frightening but spectacular slide, which made things even slower.
On the way there (which was mostly downhill) my cadence was insane, as I couldn't get into the big ring. On the way home (uphill) I finally managed to get it in there, which was crap. I did change down again on a huge hill, and managed to get it back in the big ring just before home. I think I need to keep it moving, stick a load more oil in. The problem is, when I have it in a big gear, I'm scared to take it out again.

Cycling home was also stupidly hard as I bought some things in the supermarket while at work, and managed to jam most of it into my backpack, and in all it's pockets, till it was bursting. My back hurt like hell when I got in. Moan, moan, whinge, etc.

And finally, my trainers have been giving me jip. I've been pretending to myself it's OK as I am a bit skint right now, but the top seam hurts and makes me run funny. I just about have enough time to wear in a new pair before the marathon, so went for some Nikes, as I've them before and they were ok, and I don't have the time or the money to gamble.

Anyway, they are poiple!!!!!

Friday, 29 March 2013

I'm Stupid, But It Worked Anyway

Today I ran 15 very slow miles.

When I got up this morning, my knee hurt immediately. I have been reading up, seems it's probably down to weak quads, and also running on a road with banked sides, exacerbating the imbalance I already have.
It was also less than a week ago I did my fastest half marathon ever, and a few days since nearly getting back to my 10k PB. I have found some exercises and will be doing them diligently.
However, I'm working all weekend, so no time for a long run, so it had to be today. My legs kept saying 'Oh hell, no!' even though I rested yesterday.

What made it work was to keep my knee happy, I had to run slow. I started out at 10:30, and although it did creep up and get slower, until I ran out of drink, I was quite comfortable. Tired, but OK, and running on tired legs is something I'm going to have to get used to.

I had a gel at 7.5 miles (the bit where I turned round) a High-5 one, which didn't make me ill, but did taste a bit crap. It was snowing when I left, the whole run was on trail/gravel, and some patches of snow, but as I went towards Peterhead (and the sea) the sun came out and I was too hot.
I ran out of drink at 11 miles, and as I headed back into the bad weather, I wished it was possible for my feet to suck up water through osmosis, as I ran through puddles. The last two miles were hideous. I went from 10:57 average miles to 11:05, but on the bright side, I did 15 miles a few weeks ago at 11:18, so 13 secs off each mile on a sore knee isn't so bad.

But I am disappointed with the site I used to plot the run (Bike Hike Run) as it showed 7.5 miles far closer than it was. According to their map, I only had to go to a bridge in the village of Inverugie, but that was only 7.1 miles, so I had to run on nearly half a mile, almost to the main road. I could see Peterhead Asda ahead of me. I wasn't mentally prepared to go that far. I wanted to cry.

However, I really wanted to walk in the last couple of miles, and battled hard not to. When it came to the last mile I could see my house in the distance, and my bathroom window, and I knew I would be shortly in my bath up to my chin in water, with a big drink, and that helped.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Stupid Hoover

Kind of a rest day, today. Had to go into work early, so it seemed the best day to take it easier.

I will still be doing my press-ups. It's got to 3 x 14 now, which I do not find fun to do in a row. I'm having to break them up a bit. I have arm and boob DOMS. I will also be foam rollering like a mofo.

Other things that had happened today-

* My boss has yet to confirm I can have the day off for the standard triathlon I want to do, which makes me antsy. I really want to get it booked.

* It seems it will take more then duck tape to hold my hoover filter in. I will have to buy another one. Which annoys me as I don't want to spend money on a hoover!

* My knee is sore and I have my long slow run tomorrow. I do hope it behaves.

* After insisting on the phone to the Autoglass man that my cracked windscreen is clear glass, I agreed to go and check it with a piece of white paper, and what do you know, it's either a slight green or grey tint (or very dirty), so had to ring him back. Like an eejit.

* I hate my tri shorts. They are too short. I want longer ones. If it weren't for the damn hoover, I could probably get some. Boo!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


I'm rather happy with my progress today.
I have to do a 5k and 10k each month to see how I'm improving, and the March 5k was about 30 seconds faster, but the 10k done early this morning, was 1:28 faster. I do the same flat-ish course each month, so I can see an accurate progression. Here's the Garmin link for it.

What makes me happy is there is no more than 15 secs difference with each mile, and in the final 0.2 I had the energy to speed up to nearly a minute a mile faster.
And what really makes me happy is my fastest 10k race EVER was only 20 seconds faster than that, two years ago this May, and I was well over a stone lighter back then. I really feel like if I keep shrinking and training I could be a proper runner, like all those other proper runner people, who run at speeds beginning with 8, and even 7.

Then I went swimming. It was a bit busy, and I only went with the intention of working on my stroke, so did 50 lengths of what I hope was improved swimming, and then got changed really quickly as although I started work later today, I was still pushing it time-wise.

Then I saw my boss, and begged her for the 4th of August off (my annual leave for the year has been booked, so this will require jiggling things), as there is a standard tri at Knockburn with an open water swim that I REALLY NEED TO DO!!!
She's going to let me know.
I need to buy a wetsuit.
I have ordered tri bars.
It's all very exciting.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Getting Stuff Done!

Today has been very productive. The house has been cleaned. Both bikes cleaned and oiled (and one repair attempted), and the car cleaned, and hoovered out (and then I broke the hoover, and then duck-taped it), as the car will need to go to the garage next week, and there's nothing like the threat of a grubby man who couldn't care less sitting in my car to make me want to clean it. I'm back at work tomorrow, which always motivates me to get stuff done.

I also did a gentle brick session, which I actually enjoyed. Between snow showers (and once the sun even came out briefly) I cycled 10 miles, mainly focusing on changing gear, at a steady 14 mph, with lots of climbing. I get lazy. If I in a low gear going up a hill, and there's another hill coming, I tend to stay in the low gear and just coast down the other side, but today I was all about changing-changing-changing all the time.
I then reasonably quickly changed my shoes and ran 2.5 miles. I had woken up with a twingy knee and hip, but nothing hurt whilst running, and the usual jelly legs didn't last long. 9:30 min mile average was easy to maintain, even post bike.

The weight thing is a top priority.
One of the reasons the Moray Half was more hideous than the Garioch is that I was about 7 lbs heavier then, and this time last year I was a stone heavier. I put on just over two stone with injury (and mucho eating) and now I really want to be 20lbs lighter for Edinburgh. The thought of running with a 2lb weight in my hand seems horrible, let alone ten times that distributed about my person. And I have to order a wetsuit soon, and that's a purchase I'm only making once, so it's going to have to be small.

So Pam said there this thing they do in 'Biggest Loser' where they write the amount of pounds they want to lose on their hand. She wants to lose 3 this week, so wrote a 3 (which looked like a bum, so then ended up with a gust of wind coming out of it.)

So I have drawn a '2' on my hand. In CD writer pen, which is reasonably permanent, giving it the air of a prison tattoo.

Every time I reach for something, the '2' is going to shout 'CAREFUL!! Keep your EYE ON THE PRIZE!!'

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pukey Swim

I woke up with aching arms and upper body.
It must have been from holding my upper body too tight in the cold. Also feeling quite woozy and ill, and so I ate quite a large early lunch (for some stupid reason) and went swimming (the reason for that, being fear).

It is now officially less than 4 weeks until Turriff. I am actually more scared about that than the marathon.
If I fall apart during that, the worst that happens is I walk and get a slow time.
If I mess up during the tri, I could drown, or fall off my bike. Both of which would be embarrassing. And my bike might get damaged.

Anyway, felt weird and crappy at swimming, but really did work hard on not pausing. I pretended my arms were gannets, diving into the water. It made me feel like my arms were turning over quicker, and must have been working harder as I had to stop a the end a couple of times, mainly as my lunch was threatening to come up again. And there was this old man doing some diagonal back stroke crap. He was there on Saturday, too.
He's always there.
One of these 'I'm old,  you move' types. I should have set my gannets on him!

Sundays will be my one day off a week from the press up challenge, so today I am resuming, 3 x 11.
And I'm doing a lot more swiss ball core work, too. I want a solid core. People could be punching me all day an I wouldn't feel a thing. Yeah.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Garioch Half Marathon

My Garmin page for it - Time 2:18:20

It all went quite well, really. First off, the other Lucy came and got me, which takes a lot of the worry away as she is super reliable and punctual, and I didn't have to think about not being able to park, if worst came to worst, she could have just dropped me off outside.

This is Lucy and our daughters (and their hats) in the sports centre beforehand. Mine is on the far left, it's all about the emo/wearing black thing with her at the moment. They were all very good to put up with 2+ hours of hanging about.

So, so cold.
Standing around at the beginning, I wondered if I was wearing enough. Lots of people were wearing jackets and buffs, but after two miles I was warm, on the first uphill I was boiling, but then on higher ground with stronger winds, I got very cold. I presume this lady in her little shorts on the right did, too.

I was surprised at the lack of water stations. I had taken my own, but the first wasn't for 7 miles, and then it was just little cups. The second was around 10 miles, and again, little cups. Very crap.

As it was, the chip timing was broken, so I know my Garmin time is right as I started it when I went over the start line, not when the race started. This pic shows the start line, I was down by the blue garage door, so took me a little while to get up to the line as people were walking up, so the time they post in the results is wrong as far as I'm concerned.

The medal is nice, and there was also a T-shirt, and a banana and bottle of water (not pictured, I ate the banana when I got home)

I'm quite happy with my time. I had wanted 2:17 as that was a good 30 secs off each mile, as my best time in training recently had been 2:23, but still, not too far off for quite a hilly, freezing course.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Oh man. I have so much work to do.

Firstly, this morning I went out to just jog a couple of miles ahead of tomorrow, then realised I was going quite fast, so I decided to keep on until the 5k. I was 27 seconds faster than last month, so happy with that. I was going fast as it was BLOODY FREEZING!

Then I went swimming.
I was a bit nervous, but enjoyed myself after all.
It seems I -
a) Have a terrible (TERRIBLE!!!) pause in my stroke, not even a glide, but before my hand enters the water.
b) Bad elbow
c) Not completing stroke/wrist at wrong angle.

And I am generally so slow, that when he was going to show me what drafting was like, it was practically impossible for him to swim slow enough for me to keep up.

The drills were really useful, especially the windmill thingy with straight arms, as it's one thing for a small (giant) pause when positioning (over-thinking) an arm, the movement masked it for me, but with a straight arm, I was very aware my arm was stuck up in the air, waving like a flag-less flagpole.

I have so much to work on, but at least I know what it is I'm supposed to be working on. I have made notes in my diary, and will work on this. I'm hoping in 12-14 weeks or so, Kevin will watch me again and fingers crossed, will tell me that I've improved. That would give me 8-10 weeks before Aberfeldy, so still time to work on any problems that still exist.

On the way to get some food afterwards I was passed and Aldi and went in to look as they have the cycling stuff in at the moment, and was very restrained and bought nothing. What I need is tri-bars, and so that is what I will buy next. I have jackets. STEP AWAY FROM THE JACKETS! I told myself, and I did.

My varying the calories thing is working well. I lost two pounds this week, so my goal of being 20lbs lighter for the Edinburgh marathon is on track. Hurrah!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Can't Keep A Hat On

It is so cold.
I went for a 2.5 mile run very early in the morning, and the wind blew my cap off just feet from the front door, so had to do it up ludicrously tight.

The race on Sunday is still definitely going ahead, according to the organisers.
I'm feeling guilty about my poor supporters. I really hope it's not as windy as it is today. They will need arctic gear!

I am still keeping up with the press-ups, tonight I am up to 3 x 9 of press ups, sit ups and  single calf raises. Tomorrow is swimming embarrassment, and I will run a few miles first, but just a few.

I fully expect to be in bed, under the covers, with two (count 'em, two! Luxury!) hot water bottles,  and watching old episodes of QI on Youtube by 8pm.
It's a nice little rut I'm getting myself into, at least until spring actually bloody happens.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Things That I Am Going To Do

1) Save up for a turbo.

It's not so important this year, but the prospect of no all-weather bike training facility when there's a full-iron on the calendar isn't going to happen. I am still saving for a wetsuit right now, and that has to come first, but after that, turbo trainer ahoy.

2) Turn my mountain bike into a commuter.

I only ever use it on mild trails, anyway, so I'm going to put smoother tyres on, and a pannier rack, and get the gears sorted, which will make biking to work far less horrible

3) Vary my calories.

I will have 2 days a week which a very low in calories, three which are medium, and two where I don't worry, I just eat whatever I feel like.

The medium days will be all healthy food, but still enough of a deficit to lose weight, the 'whatever' days will not be excessive, but not restrictive, either.

4) Do a monster amount of core and strength work.

By that, I mean at least 30 mins a day, 6 days a week. Since upping my protein I can see and feel a real change in my muscle mass, and that needs to continue. And so yoga and press up and Pilates ALL THE WAY!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Detoxing Like A Mofo

I have got all kinds of dizziness and other assorted de-tox symptoms going on.
I felt quite horrendous when I got up this morning.
I made a smoothie with almond and rice milk, some almond butter and a banana to get me through swimming. After swimming I had half of a very disgusting protein bar (peanut, dry, awful) and two cups of tea to feel slightly human. I'm also drinking loads, and hitting all the usual de-tox helping foods.

It looks like Sunday will go ahead. The website says the council are going to make sure the route is clear and gritted, and usually the main roads are fine, although it does kind of mean the post-run picnic will be in a car with a flask of hot chocolate, as opposed to soaking up sun on top of a hill :(

The day before my swimming is going to be assessed.
I'm rather concerned I'll get in the water, swim a length, and he'll say
'Oh I'm sorry, have you started? You mean that was your swimming? I was about to get a lifeguard as you looked like you were in trouble.'

I went swimming today and tried to really think about where I'm putting my body. The answer to that seems to be, all over the place.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Stupid Bloody Weather

I woke up at 5am, it was strangely light outside. That was the snow.
It continued to snow all day.

Looking at the forecast, it says it's going to hang about a while.
The Garioch Half Marathon Facebook page says they will keep us updated regarding the race. I presume that means if it's too bad, they'll cancel it. If they then re-arrange it for when I'm working, I'll cry.

I went out in a full-on blizzard and did 9 miles, in 10:44 min miles. About 50% of that was on snowy roads, the other 50% on bigger, gritted roads. I changed my route due to the fact I got halfway up a huge hill and so much snow was going in my mouth, I had pins and needles in my lips and tongue, and couldn't see where I was going. A man in van pulled over to make sure I was alright, and had a phone on me.

One good thing, it was a very hard going 9 miles, but my legs feel fine. Not that long ago, 9 miles would have had me slightly hobbling all day. I came home and stretched, and then a couple of hours later, put my daughter's wellies in a bag and walked to meet her from school, save her soaking her trainers, and again, legs felt fine. I can't wait for the day I can do proper long runs and not be crippled by them.

Tomorrow I will go for a small run in the morning, and then off to the pool, as back at work on Thursday. I have also put some amaranth in to soak to reduce the cooking time in the morning. I think I'll mix it with oats for the porridge. It looks too much like millet for me to be happy about just tucking into a whole bowl of it, at this stage.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Press Up Challenge

Today was my very lo-cal day. And also a rest day.

I did some roller and stretching first thing, and I'm also starting another press-up and sit-up challenge (3x1 press-ups and 3x1 sit ups on day one, 3x2 of each on day two, until you reach 3x100) which I did as I'm only on 3x4, so not a big deal. Last time I did this I got up to 3x40-odd. Am determined to make it all the way till the hundred this time. My press-ups are pretty dire, I'm hoping as time goes on I'll get lower.

Food wise, I have had porridge, a protein bar, soup and oatcakes, and a ton of watermelon.
It's my fave fruit.
Last summer I went to stay with my brother in Provence, and on the last night, his in-laws had everyone over for dinner. Bless them, they did try hard. I arrived to a massive spread of veggies and salad in various concoctions, although most were drowned in various oils and vinegars, but they had gone so out of their way for me I ate a whole plate of food that I hated. And a ton of bread. They may have lived in France for years, but my brother's in-laws are Sicilians, feeding is how you show love, I couldn't offend them.
After dinner they brought out a huge cheeseboard, which everyone fell on except me.
There were many bottles of wine, but I don't drink.
'Non, merci' I said, continuously.

I could tell they were sad I wasn't eating and drinking more, but then my brother's brother in law went to his car and came back with armfuls of watermelons, grown locally and sold in lay-bys.
'Pastèque?' he asked.
'Oui, merci!' and he was so happy and I ploughed into them. 
He kept bringing me slices the size of my head. I was so happy.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Muddy Sock!

Oh, the horrors of a muddy sock!
The mud sucked my trainer off, and I planted my clean-socked foot down into the freezing squishy mud. The worst part was then putting my shoe back on, and the gritty, slidy feeling that followed.

But to go back to the beginning, it has been raining, sleeting and windy all day. I had a small angry donkey in my uterus kicking the sides with every step I took. He kept that up throughout the whole race.

Guinness boy picked me up at lunchtime, and we went down to the park to register, and much to my joy, it stopped raining for all of about 2 minutes. There was a white tent in the courtyard of the farming museum where they were taking money and forms, and also where the majority of runners were sheltering.

There were some kids 1k and 3k races first, which we didn't watch as we sat in the car as it was really pouring. Just before the start joined all the people and stood there for five minutes getting drenched.

Oh man, so much mud. A girl in front of me tried to go up a bank to clear a particularly deep looking puddle and lost her footing, sliding straight down the bank and head first into the evil puddle itself. We all slammed the brakes on, except some people trying to go around us, which didn't help her friends who were trying to help her up and onto the side.

It's 2 loops of a 5k, kind of in sections of woodland, arboretum and open park, and just like last year, the majority (even those who had signed up for the 10k) stopped at 5. It's hard going, especially the boggy bits that hide tree roots.
On my second loop I was flagging, my soggy sock was making me miserable, and then a marshall shouted to me that I was the fourth woman through on the 10k. Hurrah! That gave me the kick I needed to keep going. At one point where the course crosses itself I saw some 10k-ers behind me, they had a whole section of woodland to do and I was nearly at the end.

I knew I was over reaching hoping to break the hour, Guinness Boy has a 50 min 10k and he did it in 53 something.
Last year I was 1:08 something, it was a dryer course, and I was the last person in.
Today I was 1:03:48, and absolutely not last. Hurrah! Another medal on the board.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Aiming High

Went for a medium intensity 5k today when I got home from work. It's the pace I hope to do tomorrow at the 10k (9:40ish! Ha!). Guinness Boy initially was going to come, then he had a darts tournament, and now today he says it's been cancelled to he will be there after all.

I'm a bit horrified as I find it hard to run as fast as I did a month ago. I did 13.1 miles at 10:57 with 700ft of elevation a month ago. Last time I did 14 miles it was 11:18.  

I'm kind of glad the bloke is coming, as last year everyone seemed to know each other apart from me, it was like a Jog Scotland outing. Me and a boy I recognised a 5th year from the school were the only ones not chatting away in a group. Although I had taken my child, so she was duty bound to keep me company.

I really want to get under the hour, although it is off road and will be very muddy, and some parts of it are bark path, which is horrible and slips underfoot. The fastest 10k I have done this year is 1:02, on road. Plus (trotting out all the excuses now) Mother Nature has struck early this month. My run earlier was painful to say the least. However, this is good in a way as it means it'll be out of the way by next week's half marathon.

On this exact race last year I got 1:08, and had to walk a bit. It was my first race back after injury.
As long as I get much better than that, I'll be happy.

But I'm still aiming for the sub-1 hour. As I'm ALL ABOUT aiming high.

Friday, 15 March 2013

I Hate Hills

Today on the bike I hit some hills. Mainly, my most hated hill, which on my mountain bike (which won't go into the small ring) I have to get off and walk. On my road bike there was no walking, but it was slow. The whole 23 miles averaged out at 13 mph. I was frozen when I got home. I hate hills.

My top tube bag arrived. At first I wondered why there was an extra length of velcro in there, but it became apparent when it didn't fit, the tubes are too wide. But with the extra bit I was able to secure it. I bought some glucose tablets in the supermarket, which I intend to use on my next long ride, the open design of the bag/box makes it easy to get things out.

Tomorrow after work I'll go for a little run, just to get things moving before the 10k on Sunday. I have a feeling it's going to be cold and wet.

My hemp powder arrived today. I checked the ingredients and it also has beetroot, spirulina, chlorella, and dandelion powder in it. Therefore, it tastes similar to what I imagine licking the floor of a health food shop would. I then made it even worse by blending it with my spinach smoothie, but at least it does blend well, no evil lumps. Overall my diet has been very good for the past couple of days, not a bourbon in sight.
I'm waking up early feeling rather more alive than I have recently.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Slow Fast Slow Fast, etc.

 I did some fasty-slowy running.

It was the first time I've tried it properly with a Garmin. I didn't do it for specific amounts of time or distance, but more like a fartlek session, just pressing lap before and at the end of each spurt (or accidentally pausing the time if I hit the wrong button). I wasn't running as fast as I possibly could, but it as a considerable effort, so nice to see on the link above that I was in the 7s.

I then went swimming and did 78 slow lengths, as that brings me up to 2 miles for the week. The positive I am taking from that is I wasn't as red-faced and exhausted as I am when I get out of the pool, and my arms feel stronger.

Tomorrow I'd like to bike, and maybe a small run after work on Saturday, as I have a 10k race on Sunday. 

In more exciting news, I have made a Goodness Direct order, which is not something I do a lot as I can't get over the minimum £35 to get free delivery. However, I have ordered lots of protein bars this time, so managed it. The thing I am most excited about is amaranth, which is a grain that is not only higher in protein than oats, but contains lysine, iron and magnesium. I hear it can be a bit slimy, so may end up mixing it with oats. In general my eating has improved, and from now I shall be reducing sugar further, keeping it for training purposes, like gels and bars, but when at home I shall restrict refined sugars.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Craft Fail.

I am getting my head into Edinburgh mode.
The thought of running for something like five and a half hours is just too hideous, I really want to get it done in 4 and half or so.
I have a number belt as I will want to carry gels, I hate safety pins, and I don't want to carry a drink or waist pack as it will annoy me. At Garioch I will as they just give water in silly little paper cups, but at Edinburgh there will be proper bottles I can run along with and discard when I want.
My number belt is green (for GO, obviously) and will be handy for triathlons.

Earlier this week I wasted half a day trying to make a pin-board to store my medals on in the shape of mountains, with plastic trees and a little bike lady going down one of the peaks.
It was a terrible failure, so instead I have just stuck some pins in the frame of a mini-whiteboard, and put my next races and goals for the year on it. It's in my bedroom. I see it the minute I wake up.
Anyway that I can combine training with stationery is always going to make me happy.

I am feeling quite a lot of marathon fear. The next ten weeks will be all about preparation.
Training, eating and making sure when the big day arrives at no point do I think kick myself for not trying hard enough. I will know I am as prepared as I possibly could be.

So today I woke up to a fresh snow dump. The road was quite clear, though, so I decided to bike.
 The weather got worse, and more snow fell while I was out, the spray from passing vehicles was blinding, I was gritted twice (OWWW!) and came home soaked and frozen, and only did 15.5 miles in 1 hour 8 mins. There were certain stretches of road that were just white, packed snow. Just moving my hand position on the bars made me wobble, it was like cycling on air.
I didn't swim, but did an hour of yoga and weights instead, as I have to go to town tomorrow anyway, so to save petrol will swim then.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


I'm going to drink hemp!

I have ordered this, as I'm struggling to get enough protein, and I thought I'd try something new after the previous soya and rice ones I've had.

I have found I can mask the disgustingness of all protein powders with a teaspoon of cocoa and banana, so hopefully that will apply to this, as well.

I have also been buying omega-rich stuff, as I definitely have Reynaud's now. I don't get it on every finger, it's mainly my left middle finger that turns deathly white and hurts like hell, but it's getting worse, and apparently an omega deficiency can be to blame. It could also be because I have had carpal tunnel in the past. Or,  I have lupus or some other nasty auto-immune disease, but it's more likely that I don't.

Anyhoo, I have recently been putting my body through more than it's ever been used to, and so no wonder it's using nutrients by the bucket-load, and handlebars are not comfy, and the weather has been dismal, so it all makes sense.

I was about to go for a 20 mile bike before work, but it started to snow again, so I did 45 mins on my cross trainer, and will of an hour of weights, rollering and core work tonight.

Unless there's an apocalypse tomorrow,  I will bike (or run if snowy) and then swim.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Better Than Nothing

I'm going to try and draw some positives from today.

I had planned 16 miles, and sorted my route in my head. About a third of it was still snow/icy, so I was either crunching along, or trying not to slip. Four times I slid along on my heel. Snow that had fallen over icy puddles was the worst, as I assumed it was safe to run on.

At 8 miles I had a gel. I have read there will be High 5 ones available at Edinburgh, but after the High 5 drink I didn't need another bad run, so tried an SIS one. I quite liked it, it's tasted weak, like over diluted orange squash, which is just fine.

Although, I am an idiot.
I know the best thing to have the night before is rice and mushrooms, and easily digested carb and B vitamin fest. However, I stupidly decided to have normal wheat pasta and some part-baked bread, so an utter wheat fest. I'm not having as much wheat as I did, and so it was a rather unpleasant wheat hangover. My stomach ached and I felt a bit sluggish.

I honestly thought it would be fine. Slow, but fine.
The problem was I had to run back past my house to then complete the last two miles, and by this time my legs hurt like hell, I was out of drink, and my MP3 player had gone dead.
So, I gave up at 14 miles.

Next time, I will take my waist pack, with lots of drink, and two gels, as I think if I'd had another one at about 12 miles, or even a glucose tablet or something, I'd have felt better.

I then came home, pulled off my clothes to discover various parts of me were chaffed and bleeding, especially where my bra had been rubbing. And I was bright red with cold.
I had a quick shower, some orange juice and an energy bar, then went to the pool, where the chlorine reminded me of the parts that were sore, but I did 50 lengths, some of which were drills.

For the first time ever I got cramp in my calf and foot. Only mild and not enough to stop me, but was a good enough reason for a medicinal packet of salted crisps when I came out.

So the positives I am going to draw -
14 miles is better than nothing, and snow, ice and cold are evil.
I went swimming as planned.
Even with having wheat, I can run 14 miles and my stomach may be sore, but nothing terrible happened.
Pain was a contributing factor in my giving up, my legs were much unhappy. However, I was in less pain when I started walking during a half marathon last September, with a sore, twanging foot, so I'm getting tougher.

Sunday, 10 March 2013


Alarm went on off at 5.50am.
I didn't care it was Sunday, I sprung out of bed, now quite excited about my long bike, and just how quiet the roads would be.
Then I saw it had snowed in the night. Just lightly.

I went down to the road and stomped about a bit. It wasn't deep. And the main road was bound to be better, so I decided to bike, anyway.

As I was eating my porridge a full-on blizzard started, so I drove to work. As I was up so early I had time to do all the school ironing before leaving. Oh, what a fun Mothering Sunday.

In the end I was glad I drove, the snow didn't let up, and on the way home there were a few times, especially going up and down hills, that the car misbehaved slightly on the untreated roads, so it took forever to get home.

Then I had various visiting to do, and so have decided to make today the rest day for the week. Tomorrow (unless there is an earthquake or something) I plan to do 16 mile run followed by a swim. I want the long run out of the way early as I have a little local 10k race next weekend. But they give out a medal so I'm totally doing it.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Damn And Crap.

I had high hopes for today.
I was going to run 10 miles and get lots of housework and foam rollering done.

Early on a phone call about lost work keys (including a master key that would have given access to lots of people's homes) had me in a panic as I was the last person have them, but luckily it was someone else who had been in and taken them when she bloody shouldn't have. I will have to poke her in the eyes next time I see her. It's a woman I already don't like much.

I then went shopping, did a mountain of recycling, cleaned out the rabbit and set off for my run just before lunch time (feeling rather hungry already).
I had decided to try out one the sachets of High 5 energy drink. It tasted ok-ish to start with, then it began to taste awful as I drank it properly, so I then stopped drinking and felt even worse. I can't do 10 miles without a drink, so after 5 miles at what I hoped would be my 10 mile pace (I was aiming for 10.20, did 10.17) I went home. I tried to man up and just drink it, but it actually make me feel a bit queasy. At least I know for next time.

The rest of my Saturday will be spent watching all 3 Lord Of The Rings films, while foam rollering and massaging my sore calf. There's a knot in it, probably due to my leg imbalance.

I had hoped to have the day off tomorrow, but I now have to work.
If I get up to anything other than a blizzard, I will cycle there. As it's my embalming job, I don't have to look smart, I just wear scrubs, and so very little to take in my backpack. It's about 24 miles away, though, and so nearly 50 by the time I get home, but there will be a 2 hour gap in the middle to recover, while at work.
Probably about 2500ft of elevation overall. That's more than I'd like in a work commute.

Friday, 8 March 2013


And it's a real weekend, too. Not one of those crappy pretend ones where I still have to work.

My plan is to do a ten mile run tomorrow, and a long bike on Sunday.
Snow is threatened, but I can't see it coming to much. And I refuse to let it, as I want to do 40 miles on my bike. So it had better not be windy, either.

This morning I just ran 3 miles before work, to get my legs going again, at just under ten min miles. I was quite pleased with myself as often my early runs get abandonded as I press snooze too many times, but this triathlon in 6 weeks has made me scared.
I feel the fear. It's like an icy clawed hand grasping at my intestines.

It's also Mother's Day so I'll have to squeeze in a trip up there to see my mum.
And a friend has been asking when I'll go round.
Don't these people realise I have training to do???

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Kale Smoothie

My legs felt quite good this morning, and I slept well. I think from now on I will have one rest day a week, and one 'easy' day which will just be an hour of swimming. Swimming really doesn't wear me out that much, and doesn't make me ache, so it's almost like having two rest days.

It also highlights to me how much all of this is changing my perceptions about exercise.
To class an hour of swimming as an 'easy' day is not something I'd have done until now.

So, Kale.
Never really had much kale, but been reading about green smoothies, and it's advised to start with spinach (a gateway leaf), as it blends well, and has a mild taste.
I have been doing that, and now I'm stepping up to kale (the hard stuff), which has more flavour and fibre and can be harder to mask the taste. I made this smoothie with 2/3 kale ad 1/3 spinach.
It was slightly chewy.
However, I'm beginning to get a kick out of seeing just how many green leaves I can consume.
This was nearly a whole blender full in one shot.

And looks radioactive.

I had it when I got home from work, whilst making dinner, in a bid to stop me eating junk whilst cooking.

Lucy has been telling me you can eat Sticky Willies (Galium saxatile) raw, and go well in a smoothie. I will soon have loads in my garden so will be doing that not just for health benefits, but also comedy.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hat And Fire Panic.

I got very little sleep last night, I woke up in the night as I could smell smoke, but it was just that the wind had changed direction and the smoke from the biofuel burner was coming in the house. In the haze (after the initial panic that the house wasn't on fire) I closed the only open window and lay there fretting about this could be my life from now on, when the wind blows this way. 
My day started with a swim (30 seconds faster over 750m, I need to cut that off every week, at least) and the fat and the saggy elderly swimmers annoyed me. Although, I did drop my hat in the changing room at one point, and was very upset when I couldn't find it, but luckily old people are a) generally honest and b) don't know a funky hat when they see one, so it was handed into reception. 
I have paid the money for the Turriff triathlon in April. It's only just over 6 weeks away. In that time I need work on my swimming. And my running. And my biking. Hell, all of it. And lose a stone.
Tomorrow I will rest, except for some rollering and core work.
My glutes ache. I feel like someone has run up behind me and punched me sharply on each butt cheek.
This arrived today from Wiggle. Just over £3 with free delivery. I need to get on top of this nutrition thing. I'm fuzzy at the best of times. I could see me wandering off during the middle of a marathon and forgetting my own name if I allow myself to become too depleted.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Legs Ache Like A Bastard.

Today is kind of my Sunday (as in a stream of shifts starts tomorrow).

And I ache.

And there are plumbers coming in and out of my house.

And I woke up at 5am just because I was so hungry (but too tired to get up and eat)

After (first) breakfast I got my bike out and put it in front of the kitchen window. That meant to be lazy and not do anything would have meant putting the bike away again, and it was enough to just make me go (after second breakfast).

So, a kind of recovery ride, slow (but hilly) of 23 miles. I only averaged just below 14 mph, but the one little victory is there is one horrible hill that I'm always in my lowest, most pathetic gear, and today I was in the second most pathetic gear.

I then managed to have a quick and chilly bath in an empty house as it was lunchtime and the plumbers had  buggered off. But everytime there was an engine outside I panicked a bit and wished my bathroom door locked. And the rest of day will be spent watching DVDs and eating.

So last night I was looking at accommodation for Aberfeldy. I had emailed a few of B&Bs, and they were full, so I looked on some big booking websites and was horrified to find that a holiday village with about 35 places to stay had so few (affordable) rooms left.
I bet it's weddings.
Anyway, got a room in a hotel that the reviews describe as 'shabby decor', 'value range food'  and 'Fawlty Towers'. It's not like I'll be there long. It's near the briefing venue and only a few miles from the start of the race, and racking of bikes begins at 7am, so it could be the crappest breakfast on earth but I'll just be eating a banana while faffing with my bike, anyway.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Heavy, Heavy Legs.

I got a new hat today. I ordered it off ebay. It was cheap but surprisingly well made. It's a more military style of peaked cap, as opposed to the more trucker types ones I have. I do zero trucking or soldiering, but it's nice to know if either come up, I have the hat for the occasion.

Soooo. My legs were a bot sore and stiff when I got up, so I went out and ran (jogged) 15 miles on them. It's the only day I have free for a long run, so no choice in the matter.
I knew it wouldn't be fast, so made a deal with myself that it anything less than 12 min miles would be forgivable. I picked this number as I realised this time last year I did a 10k race at that speed (although the year before pre-injury I did one at 9.30 min miles), and although it's only been a few months that I've been properly improving (since the arrival of the Garmin), if I could run two and a half times that distance at that speed, it would be good. However, I was faster than that, at 11:18 min miles. It was also the first time I used a gel when running. I found it easier than Shot Bloks, although I like them for the bike, and when I have a little bag on my top tube, I'll put some in foil so I can get them out easier. But gel does seem to be the way forward on the run, it was quicker to consume, and I timed it to co-incide with a wheelie bin that I know is always out.

I then went swimming, as I wanted to time my 750 metres, and it also reduces the achey-ness after a long run. I hobble in there and come out walking almost normally. I had a smoothie before leaving, although I forgot to take a drink, and thought I'd just get one from the vending machine at the pool, but it was out of order, so I went in hungry and thirsty.
The slowest time found for the Turriff triathlon swim was 25 mins, so I thought if I could beat that in my shattered, sore, and dehydrated condition, there could be some hope. And I did. 24:30. On a better day I'm sure I could knock at least a few minutes off that.

I then did some drills, mainly breathing every 5 and 7 strokes, but also following a tip about swimming faster that I got off Youtube from Dave Scott. It sounds very simple, but he said to say the word 'quick' to yourself as you are pulling the water. I did this, and it's surprisingly exhausting. It really did make my stroke turnover faster, and after 100m of breathing every 5 and saying 'quick-quick-quick-quick' I was shattered (even more so).

And finally, I had a mini-argument with the Turtle. He's been quite persistent recently, I think he's taken my lack of interest to mean playing hard to get. He made a comment about my Facebook profile picture, asking what it was (it's Loki).
'What's Loki?' he said.
'Thor's adopted brother.' I told him, and he started up about rubbish all superhero comics and films are.
He MUST have known that would annoy me. I ignored him. He then tried texting me. His number's not in my phone, but I know it was him, so I ignored that too.
Honestly, 'What's Loki?'...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Not Last!

Maybe third or even fourth from last! Hurrah!

So, turned up at Guinness Boy's house at 8.30 and got the bikes on the car.

The we went of too Aboyne, where I've never been before, but my! It's pretty place.
I wish I'd been in a better position to take lots of pretty pics, but had to get this one off Google, but that was what it was like. A clear day, with snow on the tops of the hills.


To say I was terrified is putting it mildly.
So many thin and fit people. So many lovely bikes. People doing serious warm ups.

 Things are easier now with Guinness Boy as he is seeing someone, so the 'just friends' thing has been safely established. Which is just as well, as I'm 50/50 about a lot of blokes I'm friends with, but not him. He's a nice bloke but he drinks far more than I could ever be comfortable with, and I pretty sure by the things I've said he knows this. He very kindly drove there and was waiting for me on the last bend when I came in from my last run (he finished way before I did) to cheer me on.

Here's my bike and my box. Next time I'll keep my shoes in it, and not next to it. On the second transition I found one under someone's bike wheel and the other was kicked a few feet in the another direction. 

Kevin (also known as Action Nerd for those of you who have been around a while) was there!

I decided to start off wearing my (very light) bike jacket to save time, but this was STUPID as it meant I was boiling on the first run. I tied it around my waist, but it kept falling off.
And as it was, I didn't wear it on the bike, anyway. I was too hot. I also forgot to put on gloves and glasses.

I was the last out of transition with the bike, but only by a few seconds, and then overtook a few people. I hadn't thought that would happen at all. When they said the rules about overtaking at the beginning, I was only half listening, I couldn't remember how fast it had to be done but 30 seconds ran a bell, so I just did it as quick as I could. One bloke and I kept overtaking each other, he'd get past me then slow down, so I'd go past him again, and so on. But I saw him later sat on on the kerb with cramp during the run, so not sure if he even finished at all.
 On the second transition I took a big gulp of drink that went down the wrong way and ended up choking for most of the second run, as well as having hideous, exhausted legs.

I'm quite happy with my bit of paper.

It was proper hard work, but a good test. And highlighted just how much work I have to do.
So, so, bloody much!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

I Want To Be Immunity-Girl!

I want superhero strength immunity.
I've been thinking about infections.
Especially ones that cause myocarditis.
It's all well being fit and healthy and having low cholesterol, etc, only for some little virus creep in and mess everything up. I want my heart, and everything else, to be free of bugs.

I generally don't get much in the way of colds, and cannot remember the last time I had the flu or a virus, but I've had a sinus infection forever. It's tiny, and flares up and goes away, and I think fungal, and due to the dampness of my bedroom, and so I have bleached it and dried it out as much as possible (the room, not my sinus)

So, I am starting a program of immunity boosting.
I think it's already pretty tough as I spend my days surrounded by germs, and for work I have been vaccinated against loads of stuff like hepatitis in case I feel the urge to stick a needle in myself. I spend a lot of time in the fresh air, but don't eat as well as I could, and making certain herbs a more permanent fixture in my life can't hurt.
Garlic is going to become not just something I take when I remember, but I will use it for steaming for my sinuses, and take capsules daily. And incorporate more ginger, echinacea and zinc in my life.

The other thing is I'm feeling a boost of something I wrote about a few weeks ago.
I'm sick of scraping by. I can't see myself ever winning anything, but this fear I get when I have to race is crap. I want to be comfortably in the middle of the field. This stuff would be far more fun that way.
I have 7 weeks before the Turriff triathlon, and although there is a half marathon and few other things between now and then, that is the one I am determined to not totally suck at.

Now I'm going to pack my box for the race tomorrow, and will definitely take my camera :) 

Friday, 1 March 2013

I Feel Like I live With A Psychopath

I nipped out for a few minutes earlier and came back to this scene of carnage on the kitchen floor.
Just one in a long line of death and misery, and things I have to pick up by tails or wings, at the paws of my cat.

There was also much wailing in the night, as she was fighting with a feral cat. So at 1am I was running about on gravel with bare feet, swearing.

I was then awoken again at 3am by a strange pain in my calf.
I think my recent activity is catching up with me a little, so today I just did a 5 mile steady run, aiming for 10 min miles, but did 9.53. I am going to roller them to pieces tonight, and take things easy tomorrow.

Looking back at my spreadsheet, things are motoring along nicely, and I've generally taken more than 30 seconds a mile off  my shorter distances, and nearly a minute a mile off the longer ones, in two months.