Week 20 Celtman Training

It’s getting so close now that writing this is making me feel a little ill, but I’m getting used to it as I feel sick every time someone asks me about how long do I have to go. Aaarrghh!!!

I think there are a few of us out there, so at least I’m not alone. I haven’t had any Celtman nightmares this week so that is good. So far I’ve had one of those really realistic dreams where you think it is real, I dreamt that I’d finished the race, until you wake up and realise that it can’t have been true as my body isn’t broken. Then I had one where I was on the bus on the way to the start of the swim and I was certain that I didn’t have my bike helmet or my kit to go up the hill…woke up with the seat pouring off me. Seriously this isn’t good for me!

Training is going fairly well. I have one slight concern this week, which has been my hip and lower back. It has been a bit achy all week and really quite sore on Thursday night’s spin class. I jumped in my dads giant paddling pool (some people should not be allowed to go to Costco) for some recovery when I got home and then had a rest day yesterday to try and give it a chance, so we will see how it goes for today’s run. Oh! And I made it out to the pole for the first time ever at Portobello, so thanks goes out to my Uncle Paul for leading me astray LOL!

Hope everyone’s training is going well and if you’re having doubts about what your going to do. It’s completely natural, but don’t let it stop you. Lots of love and luck and keep up the good work!

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!

Blue sky thinking…a new take!

I loathe business jargon but I’m stealing this one: “blue sky thinking” definition; original or creative thinking, unfettered by convention and not grounded in reality: and I’m changing it to mean the kind of days where you feel that anything is possible. Last Saturday was one of those days. Happiness is a sunny day in the Pentland Hills.

 

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!

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 😉

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 😀