One month to go…

Here is the penultimate progress picture…I realised that I have missed the last one when I was away galavanting in Southern Africa. Probably for the best as I fell off the wagon and spent 10 days eating steak cooked in butter, drinking and doing very little training haha.

Last progress picture but one, and as I said to Marcus at Combat Ready on Friday when he asked about how close I was to my target weight (70kg). I am virtually exactly the  same weight as when I started, just a lot denser. 

And my grand total weight-loss over 19 weeks of training is 3.8kg…I'm just a lot denser!

And my grand total weight-loss over 19 weeks of training is 3.8kg…I’m just a lot denser!

Now for my current psychological dramas. The brutal realisation dawned this weekend that there are only 4 weeks left before the race itself I am griped with a sense of inevitability/my impending doom, which was not helped by supporting my wee brother at this weekend’s City to Summit race.

He was doing awesomely well, finished the bike on schedule, but with a sore knee. Then it all went down hill…quite literally…and he ended up being dropped back at the finish by the medic not begin able to complete. As they say these things happen, but I was anticipating him doing fine as I have always been the least sporty (ability wise) of my siblings, so now I’m having a bit of a wobble. 

That being said this week’s training has been great. Fab OW swims at Threipmuir in the Pentland Hills, National Park on Wednesday and then Portobello Beach on Friday. Topped off with an awesome run on Saturday morning…pictures to follow. 

Now all I have left to go is one week of training followed by the race trial week and then two taper weeks. The end is in sight. However, any advice on psychology would be much appreciated at this point haha.

All that’s left is to show you the pictures of Scotland in the sunshine!

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Time for a mid-way review…

Where to start…

Pictures/Data

progress pictures, training, Celtman

Week 12, half-way there, 3 month progress pictures

So after 3 months here is a quick review of the numbers: I’m still the same height…training hasn’t made me shorter; weight, lost 3.1kg, all that muscle is heavy; bust, lost 3cm, no comment; waist, lost 4cm, which combined with, hips, lost 6cm, means none of my jeans fit. No point in buying new ones at the moment, so belts are becoming quite important.

Fundraising

Nothing to report. I will get a Virgin Giving page up ASAP, but I’m currently waiting for them to register the Rock Trust.This is so I can split the money down the middle between SAMH and the Rock Trust. I decided to go with Virgin Giving because of this option and on SAMH‘s recommendation as they felt it was the best option for them. So watch this space I will be asking for money soon, just not yet! 

Sponsorship

I haven’t taken any action on this front as the day job has got in the way and I wanted to have the fundraising bit taken care of first before I set out to look for kit. As I’m sure you are all aware triathlon can be pretty expensive. I have so far got by on kindness of friends and family…lots of borrowed kit. Not because I’m cheap (well okay maybe a bit cheap), but because I set up my business last year and, a year and 3 months in, I just can’t justify spending hundreds (to thousands) of pounds on fancy gear. But don’t worry even if I don’t find anyone to give me lovely kit to promote, I will be fully clad in stuff borrowed from the great and the good. On the other hand if you know any lovely kit suppliers who might want to be connected to me and Celtman send them my way.

Training swim/bike/run

Swim: On target starting to hit 1:40 for my 100s, which I’m happy with. Now I’m twitching to get out in the open water…it’s just too cold at the moment and I would like a wetsuit upgrade as my current one is so loose around the shoulders I end up carrying an extra 5kg in water. Streamlined I ain’t!

Bike: A bit behind. And a bit slow. Thanks to the weather I have only managed to get out in the last couple of weeks. The rollers in the house just aren’t the same. But now the weather is picking up…at least fewer blizzards…it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone and get out more. Show me the hills!

Run: Struggling a bit with tight calves, now that I’m back on the bike for longer periods, so the last two weeks have been a bit of a struggle to get up the hills. Getting enough to eat is also a bit of an issue, but I’ll get there. The focus over the next few weeks is going to be on getting faster, so hill sprints and 1km timed reps are on the cards. Such fun!

Strength: Coming along nicely. My core still isn’t strong enough but the difference in my hips, knees and ankles in the bike and run is fantastic. Issues that I had with the longer distance at the end of last year because of strength imbalances seem to be a thing of the past. Now to concentrate on getting faster!

Mental state

My initial connection to SAMH was because I know lots of people associated with triathlon who have suffered from mental health problems, most commonly depression, but when I sat down and thought about it I started to think about my own mental health. I’m going to talk more about this in more detail in a future post, but sufficed to say I think at the beginning of the year I was struggling a bit. Whether it was the time of year, weather, business or just life in general, not really sure. What I do know is that I feel 100x better 3 months into my training. I’ve fixed my diet. I’m getting out in the fresh air regularly. And I’m back to getting high on those wonderful endorphins…drug of choice. If you haven’t discovered them come and join me. You’ll love it (eventually)! I swear!

Pictures of the story so far…

The usual disclaimer applies I know everything and nothing, so take nothing as truth…well apart from the maps. They’re awesome!

Running in the snow…

Here’s some highlights from the last couple of week’s Sunday runs…I would add some swimming and biking footage but the first, generally doesn’t allow cameras and the second has been limited to rollers in the house…and there is also no need to see me in sweaty white lycra.

So this is going to be a photo blog with a wee video link at the end so you get to enjoy the hills yourselves. That leaves me to leave you with the pictures…

The video is coming soon to YouTube.

 

 

2 months…8 weeks in…time flies when you’re having fun!

I should have taken these pictures in the morning, before I spent all day stuffing my face LOL…and guess what nae difference (well almost) so for all those out there who are struggling with their goals, stay strong!

Here we are again. Week 8 progress pictures.

Here we are again. Week 8 progress pictures.

Just as well my goal is not to look svelte or after 8 weeks of slogging my guts out I might feel a bit hard done by. Fortunately, everything else is going well. Swims are starting to hit 1.40 for my 100s which is my goal. Runs are coming along…loving my hills, thought I need to do some more speed work. The bike is my one sticking point as the lovely Scottish weather keeps chucking snow at us every bloody weekend. So most of my distance has been done on the rollers in front of the 6 Nations Rugby…with the rugby finishing the weather better improve because if I have to do another 4 hours inside I might lose my mind. I’m going to try and add in a spin session to increase my speed work without the possibility of serious injury…rollers always have an element of danger 😉

What I need to do next is sort out my donations page. I’m waiting for the Rock Trust to get on board with Virgin Giving, so watch this space. I will be looking for money for all these pictures of me in my pants…you know it’s only fair people LOL

And incase you were doubting me about the snow here’s a few pictures.

Snow on Monday morning too…still made it to the pool!

Snow on Monday morning too…still made it to the pool!

Now I'm here do I have to get out of the car?

Now I’m here do I have to get out of the car?

Half-way up the hill from Red Moss car park.

Half-way up the hill from Red Moss car park.

Looking down the hill from the West Kip…visibility?

Looking down the hill from the West Kip…visibility?

It was quite windy at the top of the East Kip.

It was quite windy at the top of the East Kip.

Great fun running off the hill giggling it like an idiot.

Great fun running off the hill giggling it like an idiot.

Valley between the hills. Peace from the wind.

Valley between the hills. Peace from the wind.

Coming down off the hills…so much fun!!!

Coming down off the hills…so much fun!!!

All finished.

All finished.

Tread was everything...

Tread was everything…

The right footwear choice this time.

The right footwear choice this time.

 

 

Refusing to drink the Kool-Aid…

…why I just can’t bring myself to join the herd. WARNING! Be prepared for lots of mixed metaphors and apologies it has been so long between posts. I got lost along the way…must have been running in the hills 😉

I was just thinking this over this morning, so I thought I’d see what everyone else’s thoughts and experiences are. It has been decreed a day for navel gazing, so please indulge me.

Do you throw yourself into a club or a group or do you always keep yourself apart? And what does it say about us and our choices? This intrigues me as it’s the one part of my personality that I don’t really understand where it came from. There is something in me that point blank refuses to be labelled as one thing or another, to the extent that if someone tries to it really irritates me. Don’t get me started on ‘Briggs Myers’!

Training for Celtman is a prime example of this. People assume because I want to swim 3.8k, bike 202k and run 42k that I am a triathlete, but I would never say I am. This is not because I don’t like triathletes. I love triathletes. They are some of the most positive, committed, engaging people I know, so why would I not want to be labelled as one? Being labelled a cyclist has the same effect. Although, their ‘rules’ has to be part of it…there is just no way I’m wearing the socks! Solely going to the gym doesn’t inspire me either, and I’m definitely not a runner (though I’m happy to go out and run in the hills for 2 hours), so why am I so reluctant to define myself?

I see lots of people throw themselves into triathlon 100%, total commitment. Everything becomes about triathlon, it’s an easy sport to get inspired by. They get so much pleasure by using it to define who they are…you just need to check out the IM tattoos to see how rightly proud of their achievements people are. So why not me? Why do I want to do the race, but not join the club?

It makes even less sense when you look at my background in team sports. I played rugby for 15 years and during that time it was a huge part of who I was. I loved being part of a team and all the training and playing together to reach a common goal. I know triathlon isn’t a team sport, but it does have a great community atmosphere, with everyone (okay most people) cheering on everyone else, so why not become a fully paid up member of the team? It makes no sense. Especially as by not committing you generally put yourself on the outside looking in. People sense your lack of commitment and withdraw, which is just human nature.

So what is everyone else’s experience/view on the matter…I am no clearer on this now than when I started typing so if anyone has any insight it would be most welcome.

Ps training is coming along fine and another set of progress pictures is due this weekend. Oh NO! xx

When testimonials get out of hand…Combat Ready.

I came to Combat Ready because I needed to work on strengthening mostly my core and joints, but really everything. I have fairly lax ligaments around my knees that result in joint instability. They are most likely the result of old rugby injuries and now what I find is that they are aggravated by my current pursuit, triathlon.

My goal this year is to complete Celtman, which is an Ironman distance adventure triathlon… July 6th 2013 5am, 3.8K Swim, 202K Bike, 42K run over two Munros near Torridon and Achnasheen in the Highlands…so I need my knees and the rest of me working.

I’m a big believer in cross training. In the past I’ve used both rowing and squash to work on different aspects of my game (rugby reference). I find that triathlon is much better for me than rugby in a lot of respects. However, I don’t feel just swim, bike, run training helps me develop the muscular control needed to compensate for the laxity of my knee ligaments. In fact I often feel that when I up my distances I compensate, over relying on the more developed muscles, and as a result make my knees worse.

This is where Marcus at Combat Ready steps in. His approach is to use functional weights to develop strength and power (1). For me, and I would argue everyone, strength is really important and I don’t mean massive muscles. I’m talking about basic health (for women in particular in the case of osteoporosis, fractures, arthritis), good posture, being able to lift shopping into the car or pick up your kids without hurting yourself. If you don’t believe me check out the following article (2). Being stronger helps me avoid injuries, improves my balance and coordination (well up to a point…I’ve never quite out grown my gangly-ness), gives me more confidence and best of all makes me faster (both mentally and physically).

Initially I was a little apprehensive about training with Marcus at Combat Ready as all my previous gym experience has been being left by myself to get on with it and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was going to be with someone watching me and telling me what to do. I also had reservations about the whole concept of a personal trainer…my previous opinion was that PTs were only for people who weren’t motivated enough to train by themselves and that PTs themselves were gym bunnies that only took qualifications so that they could spend more time working out and looking at themselves in mirrors. The mirrors also leads me to my dislike of ‘gyms’ in general with their colour coordinated corporate images and rows of pointless fixed-weight machines. Haha rant over and now for the remedy…Combat Ready.

This is not the case at Combat Ready. It is described as a bare bones gym and that is exactly what it is. No TVs and tasteful art work here. It is for people who want to work hard and get results, not those who want to have a chat with a friend while walking on a running machine and then go for a smoothie. I love it!

My other reservations proved equally unfounded as Marcus immediately inspired confidence. His knowledgeable and intelligent style gave me complete faith in his judgment and as the session progressed his mixture of chat and encouragement really motivated me to see what I was capable of, as well as helping me get over my initial self-consciousness.

Marcus has a great approach that sets high expectations and pushes you to achieve, tempered by an awareness (probably from his martial arts background) of what your limits are, so you are never pushed too far. You never feel that you are just doing repetitions for the sake of it but as part of a greater scheme. There is no redundant, obligatory number of reps just because that was what the original plan was. It is all tailored to you, whether you want to lose weight or recover from an injury (3).

In short, I cannot recommend Marcus and Combat Ready highly enough…this blog actually started off as a standard testimonial… “I really enjoy doing functional weight training with Marcus at Combat Ready…” but it has morphed into a bit of a monster. The standard phrases just didn’t seem to convey what I wanted to say. So the take away points of my rant are as follows:

  • Strength training is important for girls (you wont get big muscles but you might avoid broken bones).
  • Not all PTs are muscle bound muppets (to paraphrase).
  • I am not always right (most of the time I am though).
  • Combat Ready is unlike almost any gym you have been to and if you want to work hard and get results it is likely the place for you.
  • Marcus is a knowledgeable and motivating trainer that will help you reach your goals, if you listen and do what you’re told (I’m still working on that last one).

The usual disclaimer applies: I have an opinion on everything but am an expert in nothing so don’t take my word on it. Look into it for yourselves.

  1. http://syattfitness.com/athletic-performance/developing-explosive-strength-and-power-for-athletic-performance/
  2. http://style.uk.msn.com/health/are-women-becoming-weedy
  3. http://kravmagaedinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/training-injuries.html

The story so far…

So my previous triathlon/running experience is probably best illustrated through pictures. All the triathletes out there will realise that I will have to up my pace a bit to get round Celtman before the cutoffs…just another part of the challenge.

My first ever triathlon was a sprint event (750m OW swim, 24km bike, 5km run) at Lochore Meadows in Fife, Scotland.

Compilation of pictures of girl competing in triathlon.

Lochore Sprint Distance 2010
Overall time 1hr 40mins 16sec
Swim 17mins 4secs
Bike 53mins 23sec
Run 27mins 17sec
Position 238 out of 258 finishers and 264 competitors (still not last)

It was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Then on to Gullane for an Olympic distance (1500m sea swim, 42km bike, 10km run)…loved it! But again not as hard as I thought…no faster though 😉

Background picture of people in wetsuits running up a dune with 3 pictures inlaid of the swim, bike, run sections of the race.

Gullane Olympic Distance Triathlon 2010
Overall time 3hrs 14mins 6sec
Swim 34mins 35secs
Bike 1hr 34mins 50sec
Run 1hr 1mins 33sec
Position 148 out of 157 finishers and 163 competitors (still not last)

I still felt I could push myself a bit further after Gullane so I signed up to run the Loch Ness Marathon, for Save the Children…making the wise decision that 1month of training would be okay. It was for the first 32km, not so much for the last 10km, which took me an hour and a half…normal walking pace would have been faster, but I was successful (completed with no injuries). I count that as a win.

Girl running on road on the left, people clapping on right.

Loch Ness Marathon 2010
Overall time 5hrs 9mins 53sec
(not last)

In 2011 I pretty much had a year off (well cycled up Alpe d’Huez with the family but apart from that, not much). Did a few wee bits and pieces of training but no races, but that couldn’t continue, so I came up with a plan…and like all my plans it was good on the big picture planning by not so much on the details.

I decided I wanted to do Norseman (a bit like Celtman’s big brother, as Celtman was only a twinkle in some nutter’s eye at that point)…so in preparation I though I’d do 2 middle distance (1.93km swim, 90km bike, 21.09km rum) events in 2012, with the idea of doing the longer distance in 2013. What I’d forgotten to include in my plan was the fact that I would be volunteering for the Olympics and that that would eat into my training schedule some what, but I didn’t let that stop me.

I decided that as long as was fit enough to walk for 7-8hrs I would be able to get round the course…crazy I hear you say! That may be, but it worked.

First came Aberfeldy…straight into Loch Tay (13 degrees if we were lucky) after preparing in Hampton Court open air pool at 30 degrees…chilly!

Wetsuits, eating, cycling

Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon 2012
Overall time 7hrs 22mins 33sec (no splits)
(4th last, but not last!)

Porridge for breakfast followed by jam and Nutella sandwiches were the key. I used Aberfeldy as training for the Highland Warrior…which must have worked as I knocked 15 odd minutes off my time and the conditions were much worse.

Swim bike run compilation triathlon image

Highland Warrior 2012
Overall time 7hrs 4mins 7sec
Swim 37mins 54 secs
Bike 3hrs 46mins
Run 2hrs 27mins 16 sec
Position 105 out of 112 finishers and 119 competitors (still not last)

Worst race freebee ever…a hat that covers everything with green fluff!

That brings me up to date with my triathlon experience so far. What also happened this year, that changed my mind from doing Norseman, was the introduction of Celtman to the world, with it’s inaugural race being held in the summer. The difference in the expense and the fact that I love the North of Scotland sold me straight away, so when the ballot opened back in November I was right in there…but that’s another story.

DISCLAIMER: In no way should anything I’ve done or said or written be taken as good advice. I have no professional experience in the heath and wellbeing sector and an unhealthy disregard for what people regard as good training and competing practices. So anything you do is all on you 😀 x