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

1 month or 4weeks in…but whose counting?

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So 1 month in to Celtman training and it is time for another picture of me in my pants. It is a little weird to get up in the morning and find out that 90 people have seen you in your pants, but that is what you set yourself up for posting pictures on the Internet. To be honest I’m not fussed that they have seen the pictures, but I am a little offended that they haven’t ‘liked’ my Facebook page…so rude 😉 I need to workout how to make it pay preview haha, so you have to donate money to the Rock Trust and SAMH to be able to see the pictures. Now that sounds really dodgy!
You will see from the picture that there has been no really change over the past month…well there has but it’s all been on the inside. The difference in my running is what I’m proudest of. I’m putting it down to all the dynamic movement and core strengthening stuff at Combat Ready and getting back into the hills. The strength is making more stable and as a result much more confident at haring about in the knee deep mud in the Pentlands…such fun!
I’m getting into Map My Ride/Run so you’ll soon be able to see exactly where the fun takes place, so keep an eye out for that.
It hasn’t all been up over the last month. It has been a bit of a struggle, but the head down and plough on approach has served me well and now I’m starting to feel that exercise buzz again. There have been some pretty hard days in there though. Friday and Saturday last week being prime examples. When I say hard…I don’t mean physically I mean mentally.
You know the days when you wake up with that feeling of dread. My personal experience is a feeling that something is putting pressure on your chest. I have so much to do that I can’t think where to begin, my response to things is completely over the top, I have a feeling of everything being completely out of my control and can’t bare to be near people. Basically, I want to assume the foetal position at the bottom of the shower and cry…which actually works up to a point. Sometimes I can workout the trigger for these episodes…they are fairly rare and often hormone related, but this time I’m a bit stumped. I think it was down to a feeling that other people had more control over what I was doing than I had. Though this only happens when I let them, so this week I’m taking back the reins and getting back in charge. Fingers crossed that a happier week is in the offing and I can go back to being a much nicer person, and less of an unreasonable lunatic 😉

Be Brave. Accept the Challenge.

…when in doubt pretend!

…when in doubt pretend!

I love this quote. Mostly because it reminds me of how far I’ve come from being a painfully shy child. People who know me now often struggle to believe it, but for years at school I probably barely spoke to anyone. Then I decided that it wasn’t how I wanted to be so I changed it. Not overnight, but years of pretending to be confident and constantly challenging myself to do things that frightened me, and eventually it got easier. I am now completely intolerant of shy adults…what is it they say about converts?

Anyway, how does this relate to training I hear you ask! We’ll it’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about training for the first couple of weeks. I could use lots of excuses like the weather, it being January…the list is long and boring, but what it comes down to is it hasn’t felt right and I haven’t enjoyed it. We all know the feeling of that first run, horrible, the second, worse, the third, the worst, but then it is meant to get better. It hasn’t. I was up to run number 6 and each one was more awful than the last, so I’ve been pretending.

I knew that eventually it had to get better…experience has taught me that with patience and hard work most things do. I’ve just never had any patience, so I’ve found this slow progress pretty frustrating. But finally, yesterday I had a eureka moment. Last session of the week, my first brick (run straight off the bike) session, and finally a good run…not fast or pretty, but something that felt like I might eventually make it to a marathon…well at least a half-marathon and then a fast hike up a mountain.

The plan had worked. After a bit of a trudge through most of the week, only Tuesday night’s run club with JCI offered any banter, no Marcus and Combat Ready this week, I got all my training in (10 hours in total, with a few press ups thrown in for fun) and eventually the pretending paid off too. Training became fun again. Then as if to confirm what I have been telling myself about just getting on with it, or the “Suck it up, Princess!” philosophy, I got it reconfirmed by Combat Ready’s Sunday blog. Great minds 😉

Bravery isn’t the lack of fear. It is doing things despite the fear. We should never avoid things because we might fail. The only failure is never trying in the first place. Challenges make us better, challenges make us stronger, challenges get us closer to who and where we want to be. Bravery in my opinion is just the ability to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it. So in essence it is all pretending.

And just incase you were wondering I still have to pretend sometimes when I’m feeling shy, and there is a voice in the back of my mind that says I might fail at Celtman, but I accept the challenge, because I wouldn’t like myself very much if I didn’t face the things that frighten me.

So that leaves this week’s plan…in glorious Technicolor. Very excited about finally getting back into the Pentlands on Sunday. Fingers crossed hypothermia can be avoided.

Week 3's Training Plan

Week 3’s Training Plan

Disclaimer: As usual everything I say is purely my ill-informed opinions and should not be treated as any sort of expert testimony.

Added extra: If you want a laugh check out YouTube to see me singing along to Flower of Scotland while on my rollers on Saturday. Inside is the only place you will ever see the white bib-shorts…fashion, and decency, disaster!

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

Failing to prepare…

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to  fail” – Benjamin Franklin

So at the end of week 1 I’m a little disappointed. I started strong. I had a fixed plan for the beginning of the week, 2 swims, strength session at Combat Ready, a run with JCI, a spin session at Lifescycle and then I thought the rest of the week would take care of itself…not true as it turns out. I should have known better. By the end of the week lots of work had piled up, added to that were family commitments and some more work, so this is what happened…

Celtman Training Week 1

Celtman Training Week 1

I did manage to rescue the weekend a bit on Sunday but, still Friday and Saturday were completely wasted. This week requires a more proactive approach, so here we are…

Plan for Celtman Training Week 2

Plan for Celtman Training Week 2

I’m good with a plan. I think a lot of us are. You have the structure and then you fit everything around that…or you fit it around your other commitments. It just helps me to use the time I have so much better, as well as allowing me to relax. I have a tendency to get a bit wound up (understatement) when I feel I don’t have enough time…there is never enough time as far as I’m concerned, but if I have a plan the exercise becomes a relaxing escape rather then just yet another thing I have to do.

The other thing I’ve decided is that I have to put my bike on the rollers every time I want to watch anything on my iPad…so either lots more cycling or a lot less crap on TV. A win, win! And I’m sure you are also admiring my high tech laminated coloured paper with written notes…it’s very exciting. I’ve got 5 colours. Why? Well it turns out that while I love technology, I don’t find it relaxing. Especially after a week spent in front of various devices. Training has to be an escape. A place of calm and for some reason coloured paper and actually writing stuff down makes me happy. And that is what’s important 😀