Thursday, 20 September 2012

I loved it

The event was last Sunday and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I had a lot of nerves in the few days leading up to it - "why did I put my name down?" "am I mad?" etc. We had a family conference and decided 2 hours was a good target, but, as I had not really trained as much as I would have liked and had never done a "brick" session, then 2.5 hours would also be acceptable. I didn't think I'd sleep the night before, but I did, and when I woke up I was calm and ready to go.

We set off with 2 bikes on the rack - the flashy new wheels on the son and heir's bike don't fit on his bike rack, so even though he was having an extra hour in bed (much later start time as much better triathlete than me) - he only had to be there for 8am to see me get into the pool - we ended up taking my bike and his to the start line. Everything took a little longer than expected so we missed the 7am race briefing - I still stayed calm as I had listened to it twice before when spectating so knew what to expect.

The atmosphere was so friendly, I met some lovely people as we queued to go into the pool at our allotted time - the "15 minute swim" gang was very supportive of each other and there were several of us first timers.

The heart rate monitor said 140 before I started the swim - so although I felt calm up until I got into the water I think I had a little reality check then and the heart went for it!

Once I started swimming though, I had to concentrate like mad, as this year we had to count our own lengths.  So I swam to my own little,one,one,one, two, two,two and so on. All of the practice at getting out of the pool unaided paid off and I emerged after my swim and headed to transition.

I managed to put all of my kit on in the right order, fastened my helmet then unracked the bike. At this point I noticed I was grinning like an idiot - it was so much fun to be doing it - I felt great.

The bike ride was lovely - through the country lanes and at every junction where there was a marshal they clapped and cheered and encouraged me - the grin got wider! It took me 57 minutes on the bike which was about 3 minutes quicker than I hoped for. Then back in to transition.

Mantra for transition 2 was "rack the bike before you take your helmet off" but it would have been hard to take the helmet off first as I had my hands full of bike, so it was quite easy to remember to do it in the right order - just as the family triathlete had reassured me it would be!

Grinning like a fool I set off on the run - my least favourite part but I knew I could do it, the family support group had yelled encouraging things to me about my time looking good for my target so I was feeling great. I did run and walk my way for 5km but have to say the support of the marshals and my fellow competitors was wonderful - and so the 40minute 5km became a reality and not just a traget - I did it, I crossed the line to hear my name on the tannoy and my family yelling encouragement. As they took my timing chip off I had to pass judgement - That was BRILLIANT. We went to the timing station and my print out said 1:59:00 - I broke the 2 hour barrier!

The other (better) triathlete in the family did 1:07 and was a little disappointed as he wanted to do it in about an hour but we all thought he was a star - it was only 2 weeks ago he completed his first half ironman - I would still have had my feet up recovering!

Thanks to those people who sponsored me I raised £560 for ovarian cancer action - that made me pretty proud too - so thank you all.

Oh, and the answer to the question is yes I am doing it again and my aim is to knock 15 minutes off my time next year - watch this space!

Monday, 10 September 2012

It's on Sunday!!!!

Well - this is it - it is on Sunday.

I am more ready than I might have been, but since I fell of my bike in May and had 4 weeks off training with my bruised and battered knee (long story) I am not as ready as I would have liked to be.

Individually the swim and the cycle hold no fear. Running is still my impossible dream, so run/walk it will have to be!

I've got lots of sponsors from work - thank you all, my forms filling up - and also some kind folk have sponsored me on Just Giving - follow the link on the page if you want to donate,  I will take as many new sponsors as possible - ovarian cancer action is a great cause.

I am already planning next years attempt so I suppose that is hopeful!

Watch this space and I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Some you win........

Some you lose..................Since blogging the last time I have managed to go running with my husband, it was going well until I felt my left achilles tendon start to hurt, so I slowed down a bit and managed to finish the session, but with hindsight I think I should have stopped running and walked back! So my achilles hurt when I walked, and the further I walked the more it hurt - but I am glad to report it is not anything like as bad as it was when I first did it.

So I am slowly improving but haven't been able to run or zumba for almost two weeks now.

On the winning side though................... the day after I hurt my tendon I decided cycling wouldn't hurt and so I would go out and brave the rain. I managed to do a 28km cycle circuit and even stayed dry, as, by a sheer fluke, I hit the only dry spell that weekend.

I have also managed some yoga sessions which seemed to help the tendon and had a couple of trips for physio which is painful at the time but seems to be speeding my recovery. Verdict was not too bad, just a sprain to the tendon!

I refuse to give in though - I will run 5km eventually!

Oh and I am going to go swimming again soon - I seem to have forgotten the way to the swimming pool lately!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Caution ~ heart may explode!

I am increasing my running gradually - the distance and course is the same but the number of 30 second running bursts is up to 13 now.

I went running on my own this time - that was a first - it went quite well. I put on my heart rate monitor and off I went. I cut my time right down to 27 minutes 38 seconds. I was a bit tired but kept pushing and when the monitor pipped I tried a bit harder.

When we looked at the readout my heart rate had gone up to 187 - probably a little high for someone of 52, the pipping apparently meant my heart rate was high and I should ease off a little.

Gadgets are great but only if you understand them - as the hubby pointed out, instead of slavishly obeying the beep and going faster because that's what I thought it meant, surely my brain told me I was working hard and I should listen to my body!

Well, we live and learn, the heart didn't blow up, I broke my PB and will be more sensible next time!!!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

It's an uphill struggle

I have managed to increase my cycle rides to 17km.

On a positive note, unlike my son, who got lots of tiny bruises on his arms while cycling the other week when he got caught in a thunder and hail storm (yes really) ~ I managed to dodge the torrential showers so the bike is still nearly pristine - just a few splash marks from going along recently drenched country lanes.

Oh and another challenge - cycling along country lanes recently tarred and top dressed with chippings. ~the combination of loose chippings and wet roads made some of my initial nervousness return ~ but I plunged on and am going faster and with more confidence now than I was when I first sat on the bike.

The uphill struggle? Went down a steep hill on my ride, then did another 1k before coming back up the same hill - I had to push most of the way up it the first time, but cycled half way up the next time I attempted it - there will be much celebration when I get to the top while still ON the bike!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Only 5 months to go!

It really is getting closer now.

I am afraid I haven't trained quite as much this week as I did in the previous 2 weeks, but we managed one "run" on Saturday (I'm up to 12 bursts of running for 30 seconds in between walking) and knocked 2 minutes off my 2 mile time - still a pitiful 32 minutes as I walk much more than I run!

Bad news is that my left calf needed icing after my last two runs and, sadly, I discovered tonight that my zumba class resulted in an ice pack too. I am hoping that if I don't go mad I can just keep the training ticking over and let the calf settle down without having to give up on the running.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

£145 rasied so far

It feels like this triathlon is starting to happen now. I am training on a fairly regular basis in a pretty meaningful way.

I think because I feel like I am doing some training and I may be a triathlete after all, I am not so embarrassed to talk to people about sponsoring me, so I am really pleased with my fund raising for ovarian cancer action - it is starting to pick up momentum.

I have now had £145 donated on my just giving page - thank you.

Check it out at

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Not too shabby

I've had a really good couple of weeks training - how about this............

Monday - cycled 12Km in the afternoon then zumba for 1hour in the evening

Tuesday - swam 20 legnths in the morning, 1 hour yoga in the evening

Wednesday - cycled 12Km

Thursday - yoga for an hour

Friday - weight training - not really any weight to speak of - but learning the form

Sunday - ran walked 2 miles, small amount of running - only 10 x 30second runs - but its a start

Monday - swam 28 legths in the morning, zumba 1 hour in the evening

Tuesday - yoga 1 hour in the evening

Wednesday - weight training - some weight this time and even managed some side and reverse plank too!

Friday - ran walked 2 miles, increased from 10 to 11 x 30 second runs - small steps but still no physio required for my back so better than my first attempt last autumn!!

Sunday (today) - cycled 15Km this morning then walked 2 miles this afternoon.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Things I loved about my bike ride today........

 This is a list of all of the things that made me smile today as I went on my first "official" bike ride of my triathlon career. I list the things in order of how much they made me smile. It is actually quite interesting that the final "smile" order is not the same list that I had mentally prepared while I was getting ready to set off this morning.

1. The sun was shining and the sky was blue
2. I customised some gloves to wear - they didn't have any small enough in the shop when I bought my bike and my hands were frozen last week during my short cycling lesson so I knew I needed something to keep my hands warm....

Beautiful aren't they... But they worked!

3. I didn't have to get off and push up the hill from my house to get to the main part of the route
4. Watching a buzzard circling and soaring on thermals while I stopped for a quick drink of water - the patterns on the underside of it's wings were amazing.
5. I can now use more than 3 gears on a bike
6. On two occasions passing cyclists smiled and said hi
7. A polite motorist reversing off his drive waiting for me to pass and returning my wave as I thanked him
8. Being able to let go of the handlebar to wave to the aforementioned motorist!
9. Thinking how pleased I am that I have raised £95 sponsorship so far and thinking that ovarian cancer is a great cause.
10. Deciding my next triathlon will be to raise money for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease - think that means yes to all those people who have been wondering if I will ever do another one!
11. Realising that at 52 I still go beetroot red at the least bit of excercise, I guess I'm not going to grow out of that - so I am resigned to the fact that I will not look elegant at the end of the Derby Tri
12. I came home grinning like an idiot
13. Knowing I can cycle 6 miles and still have the energy to go for a brisk 3 mile walk with my hubby when I got home - my first brick session!!
13. I love my new bike.

Then a quick list of things that made me smile after the bike ride..........
1. The promise of a bike ride with Jessica ( see comment on blog entry "I didn't fall off") when she visits us - I have to agree that we will not be able to keep up with you know who!
2. Looking forward to trying to keep up with you know who when he is home from uni for the Easter break.
3. Wondering if I will be too stiff to get out of bed for work tomorrow!!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Walk Walk Swim Swim

I feel like I have really started my new leaf for March.

Not only did I start riding my bike, I have managed to go for 2 brisk walks this week and then have managed 2 early morning swims - 7am in the pool two mornings running - how impressive is that?

What's next? Will keep you posted.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I didn't fall off!!!

I have taken the wrapper off the handlebars and been for a ride on my bike!

My son arrived home on Sunday evening and listened patiently to my list of excuses about how I hadn't had time to ride it yet, then announced we were going NOW. So we did!

It was really scary at first - I set off down the slight incline from our house - felt like I was going about 100 miles an hour but even I realised that couldn't be the case!

The first comment when he saw how bad I was that "I never thought I'd have to teach my mother to ride a bike" - well my excuse was I never had a bike with gears as a kid and they have remained a mystery to me all the time I have had a mountain bike - I think I only use about 3 gears out of 20.

I think I owe him a great big thank-you as by the end of my training session I had learned a lot....

1. Wear warmer gear - I was very cold
2. I can use gears
3. I can turn the bike and change direction without having to get off.
4. My cycle helmet is very comfy
5. My new bike lights are very bright
6. Improvement is possible - I already did
7. Next time I can and will go further.

Friday, 2 March 2012

New Month New Me

It is March already.

Some things have changed....

I now have a shiny new bike - photo to follow.

I have actually officially entered the Derby triathlon, paid my money and everything - its not just words!

Although I already set up my Just Giving Page for ovarian cancer action I have now rung the charity and they have put it in their book - no going back now. They have even promised to send me a t-shirt and won't let me pay for it 'cos I am fundraising for them - I say again, no going back now.

Safe to say I am a little afraid but also very excited!

From now on lots of training and lots of blogging!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Still Doing It

I had a great week training last week, but I think that was a little easier as I only worked one half day and had the rest of the week as annual leave. The biggest boost to my training though was having my son to accompany me on my swim sessions and while he did gym sessions in our garage I went on the exercise bike - it was most sociable. It is so much easier to train with company - I can see why people join clubs, maybe I should try and find one nearby?

I've been back to work this week and the challenge is now trying to fit training in around days at work. I think I have to be realistic - I did a ten and a half hour shift on Monday with no break - so when I got home and had my evening meal I decided training was not on my agenda!

So it hasn't been so productive this week but I have managed a yoga session on Thursday and I've just come back from swimming - I did my Derby Tri distance i.e. 16 lengths in 17 minutes so I was quite pleased with that as a starting point. I swam it breast stroke but I am hoping to enrol in some stroke development classes so I can try front crawl. It is soooo cold here and icy I thought I'd have the pool to myself but it was busier than I've seen it - lots of other nutters in the water at 10pm on a Friday night! I did 30 lengths in total and was in the water about 31 minutes so feel like I'm not a totally lost cause.

The 100-up is becoming a little bit of a routine - I have done it on alternate days this week at walking pace and will increase that to daily then eventually speed up.

I am about to report something I never thought I would say this, but I can't wait to start running! I had a slightly earlier finish on Wednesday and was driving home through late afternoon sunshine and, unbidden, the desire to run just popped in to my brain - I am taking this as a positive sign. When I have some more brisk walks under my belt I'll introduce some run walk sessions and before too long I should literally be up and running.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Inspiration from Santa Claus

I got some great Christmas presents this year, all seemed to be on a triathlon training theme.

One book I got was "Can't Swim, Can't Ride, Can't Run " by Andy Holgate.

What a great book - it is a really interesting read and is truly inspiring. I can't believe how quickly he progressed to ironman distance - it's going to take me best part of a year from crazy spur of the moment decision to actually competing in a sprint distance event. Still, I'm not worrying that I am only doing the beginners event, the important point is that I'm challenging myself.

He actually has a lot to answer for - now that I've put it down my son has started reading the book, and within 24 hours of starting to read it he has signed up for a half ironman distance tri in Yorkshire in September!

So if you haven't read this one yet, then I dare you to try it, but watch out or you'll end up entering a triathlon!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

I did it again!

Went swimming last night and did another kilometre - that's twice in one week, in fact it could also be said to be twice in 20 years! Seriously, I'm delighted with my progress, but I'm tired today so am having a well earned rest.

100-up in the morning then probably a nice brisk walk to get the blood flowing. This training lark is making me feel better physically already -possibly all in the mind, but then my second point was going to be that mentally I feel so much better for getting active and and am determined to stay active.

Last night my son enrolled for his first half iron man distance in September so lots to live up to! I blame Andy Holgate - see my next post to find out why!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The man at the osteopath, he says yes!

I am writing today's entry feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Today was my follow-up appointment at the osteopath, trying to keep ahead of that awful back seizing up episode when I tried my running training in November. His opinion was that all of the "bits" were not so far out and went back to where they should be much more easily. He said that all of this keeping fit must be doing me good - RESULT.

Also I'm about to eat a delicious lunch cooked by my son (labouring by me). Its a recipe he first tried with his girlfriend when she came to stay with us for New Year - its from the River Cottage everyday cookbook and is called Tartiflette Toastie. Thank you both for introducing a great new taste to our lunchtime repertoire. Jess is great with food - check out her blog Jessica Eats (Food) - follow the link on this blog.

One last thank -you to Jess, I knew that the 100-up was a good plan but hadn't realised it came from the New York Times - I'm feeling very cosmopolitan.  I'm sure it will be really helpful to me so thanks for keeping an eye out for training tips for you know who, 'cos he passes them on to me so I get a chance to improve too!

I was going to take the Christmas lights down but daren't even go up the ladder in case I blow away in this horrible weather. The weather means training for today will be an evening session on the exercise bike - it's way too windy here to contemplate going outside on a bike (and besides, I still haven't got the bike Santa promised me - shopping trip alert - will keep you posted).

Anyway, for my last cycling session I managed 30 minutes, so I'm going for 35 tonight - its a real temptation to push harder, but that leads to long gaps while I have to recover so I am definitely listening to advice and taking a slightly more tortoise approach to training. Slow and steady (but not too easy) wins the day.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Wating For A Bus

It's only January 5th and I'm feeling fitter already.

I got a heart rate monitor for Christmas so Monday's task was to set the time, date, etc and also tell it how old I am and what my height and weight are. Surprisingly it didn't laugh out loud at the info and so I proceeded to have a 30 minute ride on the exercise bike to test out the monitor and measure my heart rate throughout.

I tried to be in the aerobic range while I cycled but it was hard as I was also being coached by the real triathlete of the family about keeping my knees over my feet rather than stuck out at the jaunty angle I was using. Also I had to try not to glaze over as we got in to the realms of cadence - I really am interested but it seems there is so much information coming at me at once that my brain is suffering a little bit of overload. (It is only small anyway and so is easily challenged by technical details!).

It's Tuesday, and, spurred on by my success on the exercise bike and the fact that I could still walk when I came down stairs in the morning I promised to do more exercise today. We started to plan the days events, I had to go to work for 1pm so we decided we'd swim together at the late night session at the local leisure centre - adults only 9-10pm. However he had a little something to show me first - a first step towards improving my running technique.

Instantly another example of brain overload came to light when the son described the "100 up" exercise which he is going to do every morning. The easy version is to walk on the spot, lifting the knees high at each step, you are bare-foot and try to put the ball of the foot down slightly ahead then the heel follows. The arms are held at 90 degrees and you do 100 steps moving your arms as you would in a running action. When you get fitter you are meant to do it running on the spot. This exercise helps to cure you of heel-strike as you practice ball of foot-first until it becomes second nature.  Hubby and son realised I had problems visualising the exercise when I asked which arm you move when you step on the right foot. Hubby did a demonstration, I asked again and he seemed to think it hilarious that I couldn't get it - but we had the last laugh at his expense, as when we analysed his action he'd been doing it wrong! So he and I had a lots of fun while we did "Spotty Dog" walks up and down the hall - the son is too old to have seen the wooden tops so just watched us in a bemused, tolerant fashion, much as we used to watch him when he was a toddler - my how times change! So now I finally understand the "100 up" and have promised to do it every day.

After work I got in at 6.45pm and we had a reasonably early tea, then down to the swimming pool and in the water by 8.50. And now I have to tell you I made some amazing progress. First of all my overall distance was 40 lengths which is 1KM - how about that! Also I tried to improve the technique, I was still doing breast stroke but it was slightly better - I tried to visualise moving well through the water and remember that the more relaxed you swim the easier it is. Also with a little coaching from the son, I had a go at real front crawl - not the head up all the time effort from my youth, but putting my new goggles and even newer swim hat in the water. I only managed about two thirds of a length but I did have a kind of light bulb moment and suddenly when I went back to breast stroke I could co-ordinate the bobbing and breathing much better - it made  the last 6 lengths much easier. Just for comparison we did some interval training and I discovered that in the time it took me to do 5.5 lengths, the younger generation had completed 12 and had started his recovery period. But I persevered, and every time he set off for the next set, so did I and I kept up the 6 per set so felt really pleased. When we got out I actually felt my legs belong to me and I could walk in a straight line and no threat of throwing up (contrast the session before Christmas). Typically Em wasn't on duty in the pool so I couldn't have a chat and show off my improved level of "fitness". We came home and I ran in the house yelling guess how far - and guess what it felt great to say I can swim a kilometre ( I think I was 27 the last time I did that).

It's now Wednesday and I have done my "100 up" and been for a brisk walk for 25 minutes through the wind and rain, so that's 3 days in a row now.

This is where the bus comes in - after waiting all these weeks for a bit of training, one session comes along and then so do another 2 - I am feeling very pleased with myself. I will hopefully keep going now.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Zumba, Swimming and Lemsip

Looking back to December and my training, this is a summary I wrote qbout what happened but unfortunately I didn't manage to post before the Chrismas break overtook me. so here it is, if a little belated.

I've managed one zumba session since the silly work season quietened down and I really enjoyed it.

Stepping up the training I  went to a 9pm swimming session with my son, he did so many lengths that I lost count, but I counted mine and I did 30!!!!!!!! I was so tired when I got out of the pool I thought my wobbly legs would fail to carry me to the changing rooms. Then I realised that the lifeguard was a friend of mine so I had to have a quick chat while pretending that I wasn't about to collapse. Still, the Derby Tri only needs me to complete 16 lengths so this has given me a real boost.

This, I was sure, was surely the start of a great new training regime but sadly, within three days of my swimming session, I succumbed to the nasty cold germ that was being passed around at work and my routine turned into timing my next dose of cold relief medication so that I could keep going at work and finish the Christmas preparations.

Once again I am going to have to wait a while until I feel better, so I'm guessing that I know what my New Years resolution will be - train more, stay fit!