2014 Goals and progress

So I was thinking about whether or not to keep this blog going, post Celtman 2013 partial success (glass half-full)…I never quite got round to a full rundown of the event itself, that might still come. Sufficed to say I decided that this year I need to concentrate on business, so I’m not going to be doing anywhere near the same amount of training. However, I do fancy focusing in on technique, speed, strength and skill stuff, so that when I come back next year (2015) to attempt Celtman again I’ll be a better athlete to start with. Well that’s the plan and as a result I decided to keep the blog going.

I’m going to use it slightly differently this time (less pictures). Each Sunday I’m going to plan out what I’m doing swim, bike, run wise so that it’s down in black and white and I’m committed to it. The second reason for doing this is it means I don’t have to think about it again. Efficiency is very important this year as I’m setting up a new portraiture studio and I don’t want to spend time humming and ha-ing over training, so it’s all going to be sorted out on Sunday and then just go on with…again that’s the plan.

I’m going to keep track of all my progress on a spreadsheet on Google Drive. If you want to join me follow the link and I’ll add a page for you and we can all do it together.

This week’s training plan is pretty simples…swim session on Monday morning is going to be all about setting times, 25m, 100m, 1000m, and Wednesday will be lots of drills with 10x100m thrown in for fun. Bike is going to be an hour on the rollers (first time for 9 months so wish me luck) and then out and back to Abington (I’ve forgot how far it is) on Saturday. Run is going to be similar to swim. Tuesday is going to be setting 1km and 5km times in the meadows in Edinburgh and then finding a 10km loop for Sunday and putting down times. If anyone wants to join me just send me a message on FB. I’ll add the link to the bottom of the page.

The final thing I’m going to add to the blog is food! Last year I totally came off the rails, diet wise, and now I have to sort my shit out…for lack of a better expression. My lovely sister sent me ‘The Feed Zone Cookbook‘ for Christmas so each week I’m going to experiment with two recipes, one breakfast, one dinner. This week it’s going to be Quinoa and Berries for breakfast. Quinoa is my nemesis…I never get it right, it always ends up like soup (I also have a slight issue with quinoa looking like giant sperm. Weird? I know!). However, I love the idea of it, so I am going to persevere! The second recipe is going to be Pork Green Chilli, for purely practical reasons. My father raised three pigs over the summer and as a result we currently have over 150kg of pork in our freezer, might as well use it 😉

I’ll let you know how it goes. If anyone has any great programmes/blogs/people they are following (in a non stalker-y way) let me know on the FB. I’d also love to hear any tips on training and cooking that you have, so give me shout!

Useful links:

The Greater the Obstacle Facebook page.

The Feed Zone Cookbook

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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!

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!

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!

Have you eaten?

This was meant to be a post reflecting how week -2 went, but it has turned in to something else. Thanks to my idiocy.

So long story short I leaned lots last night, some of it I already knew, but some of it is new.

First thing I learned was: If you have been wearing heels all day, and you’re out of practice, your lower back might be very tired, so when it comes to doing things like swinging kettle bells, it may feel like your top and bottom halves are held together by old string (and I mean the frayed, brittle stuff). FAIL

Solution: Flat shoes tomorrow and see if it makes a difference.

Second lesson (I knew this one already, but it never seems to stop me repeating it): 2 pieces of toast for breakfast and a sachet of instant porridge for lunch will not sustain you for a whole day on your feet followed by a training session. Result blood sugar dropping through the floor resulting in; stupidity (left phone at work), followed by lack of coordination (couldn’t manage to swing the kettle bells), followed by depression (I wanted to sit down on the mats in the gym and cry by 5.30pm), finished by more stupidity (I only worked out the reason when I was driving home).

Solution: EAT more you muppet!

Third lesson (I’m also aware of this): I get far to easily aggravated when I can’t do something I know I should be able to do (see kettle bell reference).

Solution: Learn previous 2 lessons and chill out…like that’s going to happen.

So yesterday’s lessons are wear flat shoes and eat more…let see if I manage it today.

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