New to Triathlons, New to Shropshire. An Orthotist tracks her training with a love of spreadsheets, graphs, photos and prose.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

 The festive season was amazing, with plenty of fun, laughter and tasty tasty food.  Over the last few weeks at work with the chocolates and the deserts and filling meals since being here, there is no doubt in my mind that i have put on weight.  But i am trying to keep it to a minimum by running as much as my motivation will allow.

On Christmas day i ran to church (4.17miles 38mins). I haven't been to church in well over a decade on Christmas (i was brought up catholic but i am not religious now) and for some reason, i just wanted to go this year.  So i set off 45 minutes before it started and met my family there.   It was really cold, snow on the ground but beautiful.  I ran down to the beach, around Marine drive which took me past a surfer getting ready to join his friends in the surf.  I shouted a cheery Christmas greeting as i passed.  I got to church with 5 minutes to spare to stretch and cool off a bit.

Jeff and my delicious Christmas dinner

Parsnips Molly Parkin - if you have never had them, you have never lived!

My Christmas Dinner

On boxing day i also ran. I got up earlier and was out the door by 8am  As it was so lovely the day before i chose to run down to the beach again.  It ran a shorter route, i hadn't had my porridge and was probably a bit worse for wear after drinking all Christmas day.  But i did 3.9miles in 32 mins.

The Crown Hotel bathed in morning sunlight

Self portrait with my new camera.  So happy i got a new small camera.
Spa bridge at sunrise

Three Scarborough favourites.  The Esplanade Hotel, Spa Bridge, The Grand Hotel and the Regal Lady.

Yesterday i did a long run of 6.5 miles.  Ran the same route as Christmas but made it a loop to get home.  Tomorrow I must run.  Then i shall bake muffins.  Then go to a friends for new years eve.  Its all moving so quickly.  xx

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Already. Only one more sleep - crazy!

Its come around so fast. Tomorrow we will be laughing, eating, opening gifts and playing games. Yipppeeeee!!
Its going to be a very merry Christmas and i can not wait.  Its been a few years since i was home in Scarborough for the festive season and i missed it each year. We leave today at 2pm.  The roads are supposed to not be too bad.  Jeff is packing the car - though i know i could do it better. I have the Driver packing gene (Driver being my maiden name) which i got from my Dad.  Alison also acquired this gene and i hope to pass it on to my future children as it is super useful.  I remember one Easter going to visit my Aunt and family in Exeter. 5 of us in the car, a Renault sedan and as the luggage, boxes and bags filled the house it felt like a Mary Poppings car.  The whole kitchen floor was full of stuff, spilling in to the hall. I was amazed. Still am.
Anyway, i hope that my things will not be crushed and that nothing will have been forgotten. I will do the once over in the house to make sure, fill the flask of hot coffee, defrost the windscreen and off we will go. Eeeeeeee!!!!
I will be sure to drive safe and hopefully my MIL won't have white knuckles!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The weather outside is delightful....

But i feel its also frightful. 
My patients are bound to slip,
if we don't clean up the snow.
Ok, so i come from living in the States where it is second nature to clean up snow, for the paths to be cleared by 8am in places like hospitals, shopping centres and the streets of conscientious neighborhoods.  But i really am shocked by how poorly the hospital grounds are dealt with here.  Patients have to walk through slush and uncleared snow to move around the hospital grounds.  I also have to walk in the slop and slush to go from my clinic room to the workshop.  Thus bringing in snow and making the floor wet in my clinic.
But other than that, and the terrifying thought of driving in the snow, its really pretty outside, light fluffy snow fell on me as i walked in to work this morning.  We got about 2 inches last night and its still there now.  I'm hoping for a full on thaw by Thursday but i know that's not going to happen.  It will be a slow drive home.
Hopefully i will brave the roads tonight to get to my spin class, or at least the gym. I have been eating chocolates none stop.  Like really, i have NO self control when it comes to chocolates and free ones, forget it!  I haven't run or anything since Sunday. I'm starting to feel bad, not for not exercising, but because of what I'm eating.  tonight i will sweat though, one way or another!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Minus 8 and new shoes

This morning i got up to do a bit of baking, made some blueberry muffins for my husband and mother-in-law. Unfortunately they didn't turn out as sweet as i know they would prefer them - with their American taste buds - but they are edible which given my lack of GF baking experience and the made up recipe, i'm still pretty pleased with.

Once they were out of the over, and one eaten of course, i donned my cold weather running gear and hunted for my trainers.  They are no where to be found. I used them last on Monday, and since then, we have had a 20 foot container load delivered so i have no idea where they are.  fortunately, i did find a pair of New Balance that i was going to sell.  I got them from work and never wore them, they had tags on still.  I was more desperate to run than the twenty bucks i may get for them on eBay so pulled my foot in to them and wondered why i was willing to give them up. They were comfy and have great traction.  They were perfect for running in the ice and snow that is the outdoors right now.  They don't have much cushion but were just perfect for my run today.  Totally stoked i wore them.

5.7miles 54:10 avg pace 9:31   ------------------ 9.17k

nb: i totally forgot i got up at 6.40 to run 3 miles on Wednesday morning. Totally love it when i find i have worked harder than i thought i have.  I did lamppost to lamppost knee us x3 and also leaping x3.  Good run. yay.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snowed off

Unfortunately my 10k race tomorrow has been cancelled, well postponed until Jan 23rd.  But at least by then i may be a bit faster.  Went in to town today, both Oswestry and Shrewsbury so didn't really get chance to go to the gym. Been entertaining my mother-in-law all day.

I baked some GF muffins and bought goods for more, i'm starting to feel a little like Christmas.  The house even has some decorations up now.  I found them whilst unpacking the numerous other boxes and couldn't resost.  Yes the house is a mess of cardboard, packing paper and furniture in the wrong room, but at least its Christmassy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Too. Much. Paper.

If there one thing i want for Christmas, that is to get a gift that i don't need to unwrap.  Our belongings arrived from America yesterday and i have spent the 5 hours outside work each evening unwrapping it.  Its insane how much paper there is in the house.  I used to like opening packages, but i think the novelty has worn off, for life.

Not managed to work out for two days, but haven't sat still really either.  my back is sore from work and from unpacking.

Roll on the weekend.  Not that it brings much respite.

I'm going to bed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Training plan

Okay, so i think i have pretty much worked out that long term training plans and I are not the hottest couple.  We may be great lovers at first, giving it all to the relationship, even giving a bit more than necessary.  But after the honeymoon period is over, things cool off and we don't like playing by the rules any more.  We skip dates, are unmotivated to do planned tasks and simply stop caring about each other all together in the end.  For this reason i have devised the most basic of training plan.

Monday - Spin class 45-50 mins  Run 20 mins  - My weekly brick session.
Tuesday - Endurance swim session - i will go through the workouts in my book
Wednesday - Run 45 mins Intervals or hills - something gruelling.
Thursday - Rest if i want - swim if i want - run if i want - cycle if i want.
Friday - Force Swim session - i will go through the workouts in my book.
Saturday - Bike outside for one hour plus.
Sunday - Run outside - a long run, slower and at least 50 minutes.

As i am almost doing this already, but with a few skipped session, i think this could be easy to stick to.  I realise i have to increase my intensity as i get better, which is why these are times rather than distances.  And they are flexible.  Also, its only a sprint, the swim is short - 400m so i really want to get my bike skills and endurance increased.  That is where i can make up the most time.  So really, Fridays swim and Thursdays rest/anything day can be interchanged or missed and i won't feel bad.  If i miss a force swim, i will add one to another day.  I really like swimming after doing other things, its so nice to get in the pool after a sweaty session.

Country Smells.

A bit annoyed with myself yesterday, really for knowing my husband better.  I should know that he isn't going to get up early, or even just a bit late when he is adjusting to UK time zones.  I should have brought my workout gear out of the bedroom and got my ass to the gym or out for a run.  He got up at noon, by which time i wanted to do something with him, not exercise. But i'm trying not to beat my self up about missing a few workouts in these first two weeks of him being here.  With the house stuff still to arrive, and his mum coming too, there is bound to be a few missed sessions.

Today I had learnt though and had my stuff ready.  I wanted to do a longer run outside.  I mapped a route which was 5.75 miles.  Next week is my 10K so wanted to get near that mileage.  It was 1C but sunny and fresh.  I love running outside in winter as i have a thing for running tights and skirts.  I feel cute, which i like.  I added my down gilet, hat, shades and ipod and i was off at 10.30am.  The run was serene with very little traffic.  Narrow country roads and the smell of cattle farms. I love living out here.  5.78m in 55:55  avg pace 9:40  (9.30K at 6:01 pace)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm signed up!

Yes, that's right, i found a triathlon in late march and signed up.   I'm SO EXCITED!!!! I got my appointment letter for my hip MRI and its not till Jan 12th so i'm quite sure that i won't be having surgery before March 27th.  I am so stoked that i get to race this season. Its not ideal.  I wanted to have a little more time, especially to get out on my bike on the roads, but i will just have to make sure that i go every weekend that i can.

It is held in Pwllheli, Wales - as if that needed stating with the spelling of it - which is a two hour drive.  Its a pool based tri, which i'm grateful for given the time of the year, and also as its my first triathlon.  The website is a bit sparse of information but its a 400m swim, a 12mile cycle and a 3 mile run.  I have no clue if its a closed road or what the run route is, but quite frankly, i don't care.  I'm just thrilled i'm doing one.  Its so soon!!!

So my training starts now!

Fourteen weeks and counting...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Scared of a Motivation Slump.

If you read back over how i have managed to stay motivated to work out, it's by having a goal of entering a race.  I simply don't work(out) well without a goal. And that goal need to be tangible. Not merely be stronger, loose 10lbs or feel healthier, i want a race bib, perhaps even a medal or t-shirt to go with the pride of finishing something i have worked hard for.

I had my appointment with my consultant about my hip, and he came to the same conclusion as the medical director i briefly spoke to.  The only option is surgery - or nothing of course, but if i want to be pain free, surgery it is.  I was lucky in that i got a bit of a staff bonus by him seeing me so soon - one week instead of 2+ months - but i doubt that he will bump me up his 3-6 month surgical list.  You may think being medical staff i would think to bring or wear shorts to the appointment but no, i just wore loose trousers thinking that may be good enough.  Not that clever me, so a gown it was. Of course then he has to pull up the gown to see my spine and pelvis, with me just in my knickers.  Great, so the guy i work with has now seen my ass! In boy shorts, thank goodness not a g-string day!!

 First i have to have a contrast MRI.  I have a local anaesthetic in my hip area, they inject some contrasting stuff and then i have an MRI.  Doc said to make my hip hurt before they scan so they can see if there is any inflammation or the like. Sure, at least i know exactly how to make it hurt.

After the scan we will meet again and confirm that i want to go ahead with the surgery.  Its a horrible procedure, with many risks.  There are of course the everyday surgical risks of infection, reactions to anaesthesia etc. but also as they have to dislocate my hip and put in under traction to get in to the socket, there is potential for nerve damage through stretching it too far.  And who would choose to have their hip dislocated?? The only nice thing is that its arthroscopic so the scars would be very minimal.

The recovery is the unknown, and i didn't even really discuss it with him.  Its so patient dependent i understand that. I will be keen to work hard, and get back to work and get my fitness back so i will be on the shorter side of recovery times.  But probably 3-4 weeks off work as i read 6 weeks, so i bet i can cut that!

So one of my concerns is this run up to surgery.  I could be in in a few months, say March, or it could be 6 months.  This means that i can not sign up for any triathlons.  Or really any races. I can't afford to waste money even on the cheapest of short running races.  So i'm scared.  I have to keep in the best shape possible to make my surgery less risky my recovery quicker but its just not the same as training for a race.  I am also annoyed that, after a year of training, being the fittest i have ever been - no kidding, surgery is going to take it away. To knock back months of work.  To potentially stop me competing this coming season.  I feel like its just beyond reach, something i have wanted for what seems forever - even though its really only 8 months.  And if i don't get to compete in 2011 then who knows when!  I hope to be pregnant sometime soon also.

I like the idea of maintaining my fitness in case surgery is nearer the summer, then just jumping in on a sprint tri last minute, but as i understand it, they sell out before they start.  I'm guessing i could jump in to a running race late in the game so perhaps concentrating a bit more on my running speed to reduce my 5k or 10k time will keep me motivated.  I am about to sign up for the Telford 10k and plan to find a few more in the winter months.

I will race god damn it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday night stupor.

I'm currently trying  to motivate myself to go out in the cold and get to the gym.  On Fridays we finish at 4pm so i popped out to the pharmacy to collect my GF food prescription.  I think what i have now will get me through to February, its quite a lot, but i do go through a loaf a week if not more. I also got some pastry mix, so i can bake some mince pies and perhaps a quiche or pie and pasta and crackers too.  I normally don't eat much pasta but with getting home from the gym at 8-8.30 and being hungry and lazy, pasta is the perfect quick food. I dropped in to grab a few bits of food and indulged in some cheese but did grab my gran some biscuits to add to her Christmas hamper.  I'm not much good at waiting to taste new food stuffs so had myself a little snack of crackers and cheese.  Pretty darn good Gorgonzola considering the cheep-ass price!

On Tuesday night i did endurance workout #2 in my book (swimming).   It took me 50 minutes to complete but i missed 225m off the cool down as my goggles leak.  They get worse through the workout and it gets too frustrating to keep adjusting them. I plan on buying some more tomorrow. I'm happy with a 2275m workout and the time flew by.  I really like having a plan. That book really made swimming even more fun.

Last night i ran 8K. I am going to run the Telford 10K on Dec 19th so need to increase my distances over the next few weeks.  Also, i need to do more running.

So, how to i get myself out the door tonight?  How do you convince yourself to go back out once in the warmth of the home?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spin Class

Got home to a warm house for the first time this winter. Through choice i may say. Not spending too much time here, i haven't been putting the heat on.  But what with the country having a cold snap and snow on the ground not melting, i thought it was about time to press the on button.

But, a warm welcoming house, a small bowl of cereal and a laptop with husband on the other end chatting to me makes it difficult for a girl to get out the door.  I did think that i had missed the class, but then peeked my schedule and low and behold i had 30 minutes to get there and i'm glad i did.

Its a sweat fest and unless i really push it on hills and intervals on the treadmill (which actually thinking about it - i often do), its the best workout i get.  I jumped in the pool for a couple of laps, like 300m at most coz mostly i wanted a steam, jacuzzi and sauna really.  Tomorrow is my proper swim workout.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cold and Happy

My sister and Jamie visited this weekend.  It was brief but enjoyable.  Due to the bad weather and that she comes all the way from Hull, they were here for 24 hours.  But in that time we visited Oswestry for a walk around and a few drinks, Whittington for dinner and drinks, and Shrewsbury for a wander and lunch.

I expected them earlier on Saturday, and i was feeling a bit lazy so didn't go to the gym in the morning.  But today when they left, it was sunny and bright.  I was going to head to the gym. I popped on-line and read a bit of FB and dailymile.  Everyone talking about running the cold just made me want to get out there in the sun and bitter cold.

It was in fact only about -4C but that's not too common here.  I donned my cold weather running gear, my while Gillette which worked so well keeping me just the right temp in Milwaukee and poked my nose out the door. Yup, it was bloody cold.  I did my usual route and it was so delightful, amazing to be outside running instead of the dreadmill. I enjoyed every step. It flew by and i was sad to end up on my doorstep once again.

The sun shone the whole time, not a cloud in the sky. I ran past crisp white fields with flocks of sheep grazing in their thick wooly coats. Through Whittington, past the castle with its frozen moat making the ducks waddle around.  Past where we dined last night as i had delicious bacon wrapped pheasant and potato gratin. I plodded on, careful not to slip on ice and snow. Occasionally running on the roads.  If not literally on my face, i was certainly smiling inside.  It was uplifting, energising, and yes, bloody cold.  And that's just how i like it.

Snow capped Shrewsbury.

It took me back to when i first started running.  Just this January back in Milwaukee, a life time a go it seems.  So many things changed, so much happened in between then and now.  Funny though, one thing still the same- my weight.  Probably more muscle and less fat, but still about the same.  But its cool, just saying.

3.9m 9:12 pace - though i gotta learn km as the treadmills are in that so... 6.3km at 5:42 pace

Saturday, November 27, 2010

race planning and a good swim.

I ran 5k with an increasing speed on the treadmill in 28.22 today. Then swam 2K using my new book.  Its was a tough session, and i admit to leaving the last part out ad i don't have a pullboy yet.  But its also the farthest i have swam too.  Really enjoyed it though.

I'm excited too, the UK amazon didn't have any Poolmates left so i have up graded to the Poolmate Pro with the help of my mother-in-laws christmas gift.  Its the one i really wanted so i'm proper stoked about it.

I have also decided that if they allow it, i will marshal at the Northwich Tri in June to gain free entry in to the Llandudlo Sea Tri Olympic in July.  They were offering it last year but i couldn't get to one to marshal to get a free entry.  I have asked so we will have to wait and see. I can't believe i am signing up to a standard distance in July though, that's kinda scary!!

Good night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Yep i'm pretty happy with the way things are going for me. I'm running and swimming like crazy. I do a spin class a week and i hope to use my bike and trainer when it arrives to do more cycling.  I don't like static cycling, but even more so when its on one of those horrible seat on the gym bikes.  Though in all honesty, i'm trying to get the motivation to actually go out on my bike on the weekends.

I have been researching Triathlons near me and they all appear to be an hour away. But, a girl from work said that if i do a close Sprint, then she may join me.  Her man does IM and they just got back from Florida where he did a half IM.  She says i'm crazy for considering aiming at a half IM and said she would never do a triathlon, but she is already wavering on that point so we'll see eh!

My plan is to do a sprint in the early season, April/May time, then do a olympic by the end of the season - October-ish. If i can do a couple of sprints then all the better.  Maybe the first one - pool based, and one open water.  As i assume the Olympic would be open water.

Though my pool is lovely, it annoyingly doesn't have a swim clock.  I'm going to ask for one.  but until then, its hard to do proper sets with proper timings and also to time myself to see how fast i can go.  I am getting a Poolmate - lap timing/counting watch - for christmas, but it wont arrive till after christmas sadly. They have a clock, so i timed myself, i was aiming at 1600m but got cramp in my foot (probably because of the hour hill interval run i just did) so had to stop at 1300m.  It took me 22 minutes.  I have no way to judge this but its 1:40 per 100m.  But i feel ok about it as i can feel my improvement almost weekly.

I am going to invite a couple of friends to do the Telford 10K which is on Dec 19th.  Jeff and his mum will be here, but i have had this race on my mind, in my plans for ages so they can tag along if they want to. Its not so far so...


Friday, November 19, 2010

Body Pump

I got to the gym and noticed in 15 minutes that body pump was on.  I am no good at doing my strength training by myself, so thought i'd try this class.  As with all the classes, it is included in my membership price.  I did a 10 minute warm-up run and headed in.  I quite enjoyed it. For pumping iron. The hour went by quite fast and at points i was really hurting.

I decided a jacuzzi was in order for my hard work so i did 5 minutes in the hot tub then swan 600m.  My arms were tired from the class, but i was only in there for fun anyway.  Coz i can, coz its lovely in there, relaxing and calming and i love to spend 5-10 minutes in the steam room then maybe a few in the sauna on occasion. It still feels like a bit of luxury in my life, the novelty hasn't worn off yet that i can just nip in for a quick swim and steam.  I mean come on, look how nice this is...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting no where fast.

On Running:
Oh man i needed that run. It felt SO good to be running.  Even on a treadmill!  I knew all day tonight was a running night, i haven't had a good run in ages it seemed.  I don't overly enjoy the treadmill but use the programmes to try to keep it interesting and avoid just running an easy pace.  Tonight i set up a 45 minute speed interval run (7.1km covered) and thoroughly enjoyed it, time didn't drag and by the end i wanted more.  So i set up a 15 minute hard hill work out (1.87km covered).  I actually could have run faster but was unsure at the beginning if i'd make it so kept it on level 7.  The last section of flat i increased my speed to fast though, i like a little sprint to the finish line.  I still feel good from it. I then did about 100 sit up type things, maybe more.

The Hip News:
I have my x-ray request right here.  Been talking it over with my mum, trying to make sure i receive no unnecessary radiation - my mum is a radiographer - by ensuring that i get the right one. I was a bit blunt with my GP.  I told him i had asked a consultant i worked with and what he had recommended.  I gave him a brief history but basically my GP did what i told him to do. Namely writing a x-ray request and a referral to Mr Kiely.  This meant though that the x-ray referral is vague.  I did ask another consultant and he also agreed that it would be visible on an AP x-ray so i'm confident i can go ahead and have this done.  If it proves i have what is suspected though, i will need a CT scan :(  more radiation, that stuff isn't to be taken lightly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Left right left breathe, right left right breathe.

I went swimming tonight after watching several videos on how to have proper form.  I tried to implement it all and i was somewhat successful.  I felt i was faster gliding through the water and that i was getting tired a bit quicker but in a good way as it was in my shoulders.  I could feel that i was stretching out more - elongating my upper body and arm length and doing the proper S shape with my hand/arms.

Now to just practice practice practice.

Yesterday i did 30 minutes of cardio and was all set to do a 30 minute swim, but i had forgotten my goggles, so i just went home.  Monday i had done 20 minutes of upper body weights and a 45 minute spinning class.  I will no doubt get in 6 days of exercise this week, giving myself Saturday off to go shopping with the girls from work.  I'm really looking forward to that, to getting to know them a bit better.  Maybe i'll make a friend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Over the last week i have truly enjoyed my gym membership.  I joined a swanky place up the street. I had no intention of joining a gym, but i wanted a nice pool, and once in there for my free day, i just couldn't stand the thought of going back to the local pool.  As its in a hotel, the pool is more luxury than utilitarian but its 25 meters, you can have 6-7 folks swimming in their own lane, if not an actual lanes width and its the same depth throughout so tumble turns are possible.  It also has a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.  The gym is nice a big, plenty of machines for the number of members and lots and lots of classes.  I have only done the spinning classes so far but i really enjoyed that.  I've never done one before, but it will be a regular for me.  I plan to try the strength training ones too.

On a slightly less fun note, the pain that i have in my left hip; that i've had for years that has progressively gotten worse over  the past years and now months, has a potential diagnosis.  I asked a Dr (or even a Mr) i work with and he immediately suggested it is anterior femoral impingement.  Which means i have extra bone on a possibility of a few different surfaces, either on the head/neck of the femur or the acetabular or both, or just thats the head of my femur is cam shaped not round.  Unfortunately surgery is basically the only option for treatment, and i don't like the sound of the post of recovery.  No active hip flexion for 6 weeks and NO RUNNING for 3 MONTHS!!!!!  I have a Dr appt to get the process moving, i'm excited that this could be sorted, something i thought a few years ago that i would just have to live with, as at that point it was tolerable, i didn't ever go to the Dr.  I wonder at what point i would have gone to my GP, if i didn't work with orthopaedic surgeons to pick their brains.

I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tri training at last

Its finally happening, i have started swimming and it feels great.  I have been twice properly and once with Amanda at her fancy gym.  Didn't really do much swimming there, but it got my desire all souped up.  I swam 1000m on Tuesday and 1300m today.  I go to the leisure centre, the pool is standard 25m and fine, but the changing rooms are hellish. I bought a 10 swim ticket for £25 but after that i'm going to see if the fancy hotel up the road from work have a swim membership.  They have a lovely gym and pool open to outsiders so fingers crossed.

Our belongings have set off from America and are due to arrive nov/dec so i will then get my bike trainer out and start ramping up my endurance on that.  There are plenty of fabulous rides around here, but until its lighter, i think i'll stick to inside.  We have a conservatory so i am designating it to be a gym.

My plan is to go running this evening, but i haven't really had lunch yet bar 2 bananas and 3 rice crackers so that may be a bad move.  I did swim a ton, so that may have to do.  We'll see.

Hope to have Internet at home soon.  I'll be back.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My kind of Weather

This morning when i woke up, it was raining windy and what appeared to be cold.  There was a haze over the town.  This is what Americans think our weather is like all the time.  Regardless of what mother nature does, i still have to run but was not looking forward to it.  As i sat eating my breakfast looking out on a typical autumn day i had to remind myself that when i started running it was in the freezing temperatures of Wisconsin's winter.  I believe i ran when it was negative10C (15F) so a meek little blustery English autumn day should be nothing. 

I donned my running tights, running skirt, a tech T, wool beanie and my windbreaker and headed out.  It was LOVELY.  The dampness in the air was nice, the wind cool but not cold.  I took my hat off after 5 minutes.  As i climbed Olivers Mount my view was restricted to maybe 100feet on the road.  It felt really good to be running.  The air smelled sweet and fresh and felt i was running on clouds. It didn't even bother my that Sally died after .98miles.  I ran my usual 3 so didn't really need her anyway.

In general i prefer autumn and winter clothes.  I always have.  I like to wrap up. Love leather gloves and woolly hats.  I've never been a scarf person, but I'm slowly changing that. I have missed wearing my down body warmer, i love the cozy pockets and that i can carry things without a bag. Its great to run in, i can carry a phone and camera and not even notice it.  I am truly looking forward to Autumn in the UK for the first time in 7 years.

Bring on running tights, chunky warming soup and leather gloves.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Done. Now lets move on to Tri'ing

So it occur ed to me last night, when i realised that i had missed the cut off date for the cheaper entry fee for the Birmingham HM that i have achieved that goal.  On my run today, i convinced myself that it was okay to not enter said HM as i have done what i set out to do.  And you see above, where it says 'My journey to becoming a Triathlete' well that is my actual goal.  The reasons that i chose to do the HM were the relatively high cost of tri training- not having a job and being skint and pool fees being steep, and that it was the thing that inspired me to maintain exercise in the first place. 

Well on September 12th i achieved that goal.  And i did so with a better time than i had thought i could.  When i entered the Great North Run i predicted my finish time to be 2:20 - 2:40 so my 2:10:44 kicks that. 

From the looks of my training log the past few weeks i fell of the wagon a touch.  I know i have been super busy, renovating, catching up with friends and trying to find somewhere to live and buying a car and stuff, but i didn't run for a whole week.  It make me realise that i am not one of those people that just can't stand it when they don't exercise.  I am one of those that feels it is very important. That gets that buzz after a hard work out. Feels good for the rest of the day if i get 5 miles in before noon.  But i am no exercise fiend.  Its easy to slip.

So with that in mind, and my goal actually wanting to be a triathlete, i have no shame in not entering the Birmingham HM. I've done it. I can move on to tri training. I just don't have the gusto to train for two things and I want to TRI.

Until i get settled i am not having a training schedule. I will aspire to go to the pool twice a week, keep up running and get on my bike every week.  Build up that base.  I have a few short running races i will be entering but my main goal is to get in to the swing of three sport training.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A swift kick up the butt...

...should get me back on track 

Seriously, i need one.  

This week has been a poor excuse for a training week. I left my recovery run until Tuesday and then copped out at 2.1 miles due to my lack of trail finding and a bit of a time crunch.  And Thursday is my only other run and that was a quick 2.5 miler.  I have done more drinking than running which is not very normal and i'm not too happy about it.  And as i added my runs to my running log today i realised that i need to do a long run this week and its not going to happen.  I may get to it on Tuesday.  

I was at the Packers - Bills game today, so there will be no running.  Tomorrow i need to pack and i fly home.  I may get a few miles in in the morning, if i get up early. I would like to, but i would also like to lie in bed with my hubby who i won't see for another 6 weeks or so.
Running has taken a back seat to renovations and friends this week.  I suppose that's okay. Sometimes that will happen and given i won't see these friends again for ages, its the best choice. I have no regrets, it just feels weird.  After not having anything to do but run in England, to come here and have so much to do, it feels a bit weird.  But i will soon be back to running being one of few time fillers. That and my new job of course.

Tailgating. I was a bit chilly in the morning.

But it got warm and i bought a new cap.
 I don't really wear caps apart from running in.
And all my caps are Packer caps.
Pretty cool helmet.

Me and ma Hubby.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Race photos.

The official photos are out.  I don't like some but here are a few i do like.  About a mile to the end i hoped the crowds would be big and cheering so i took off my ipod in the hopes that someone would shout 'well done Stephanie' or 'good going Stephanie' but i didn't hear my name.  The crowds were crap and i almost wish i had been wearing my ipod to the finish line.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A quickie in the dark

oooerrr missus ;)

I got my run in. 2.5 miles in my new shoes.  I took a bit of a random path, didn't have a plan you see.  It was weird. Running at 7.15 and its dark already.  I have gotten so used to it being light until 10pm in England.  It really makes the day shorter. I know, it sounds silly as the 'day-light' is shorter but really, having the sun set later extends the day so much.  I slow down later, i get more stuff done when the sun is up. I am way more active in the summer, and more importantly more active later in the day.  That is something i missed when living in Milwaukee.  But in just a few days i will be back in the UK and living it up all evening. Running later, cycling later enjoying the long evenings. Even though they are getting shorter every day i will still feel they are long.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I SO need to run

On Tuesday i went to Doctors park to get a little trail running in.  I wanted soft ground and fun, like that last recovery run i did with the running club.  But it was not to be. I have only been there once before i and i parked in a different place to avoid paying the $4 it cost to actually use the park.  So i set off but couldn't really find the trails.  I went off path but ended up running on a river bed which was soggy and pebbly. I was no where near as much fun running in the woods on your own.  I look forward to having a group to run trails with when i get home.

My new Puma Haraka XC

And i will be using my new trail running shoes.  I wore then once before my HM and just for two miles. I ran in the park on the grass.  They are very minimal and i could feel the ground really well.  Its a much different feel to the cushioned shoes i wear normally.  But i'd like to get in to this minimal foot wear trend. It all makes so much sense to me.  I didn't wear them Tuesday as i was planning on running 5 miles and i know i have to ease in to them. Unfortunately i only ended up running 2 miles. I got all disappointed at he lack of fun and needed to get home to call my sister too.

So now its been since Tuesday that i have run. I have been busy renovating but i hope to get out today to run away some annoyance. I cut two fingers today, broke a pain of glass of a window i was re-glazing, and stood on my camera and broke the lens in/out function so its f**ked.  Not too thrilled about that at all.  It shouldn't have even still been open/on as i hadn't used it in at least 5 minutes and it normally shuts its self off.  Grrrrr

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Race Report

Wow!  It feels great to finally finish a half marathon.  If you remember it was spontaneously signing up for the Great North Run that got me started running in the first place.  Now, even though i don't get to run that race, i have a HM under my belt.  A little earlier than my training plan had me ready for, but running 11.5 miles 2 weeks ago made me believe i could run the distance.  I didn't believe though, that i would be able to run it as fast as i did.  I had high hopes of hitting the 2:15 mark so when i came across the pace tattoos in the race expo i grabbed four: the 2:05 - for my Birmingham race, the 2:10, 2:15 and 2:20 as i didn't know what i was going to aim for.

The night before i decided by elimination.  2:05 was my Birmingham time.  2:20 wasn't a high enough aim.  2:10 and 2:15 were what i thought achievable so i went with 2:15 so that if anything, i would hopefully better my goals, rather then fail them.

Pace tattoo on my forearm.

I had a big steak and jacked potato the night before and as i had a little hangover belly i allowed myself two ciders. But i did make myself drink a ton of water too.  I didn't want to take this race too seriously, i was seeing friends who i see rarely and won't see for ages so just went with the flow.  I was in bed by 10pm though.

Everything prep'd for the next day.

Overly large 'medium' shirt.

At 5am my alarm went off, though i was already awake 10 minutes prior.  I got up, dressed and ate a small bowl of oats and yoghurt and drank a tall glass of water.  I mixed one of those hotel instant coffee sachets in to a couple of ounces of cold water and downed it.  Thankfully my wonderful husband offered to drive me down-town to the train that they had put on for the runners.  He dropped me off with the mobs of sports clad early risers.  I was getting really excited now.

I realised on the train that i forgot my shades and that really pissed me off. I rarely go outside in the sun without them, never mind run for 2 hours.  But i didn't let it spoil my mood.  I spent 30 minutes in line to use the porta-jon , ate my banana and by that time it was 6.45am.  The race started at 7am.

I ran a little to warm up and got in line in the 2:15 pace area.  I chatted to a couple of people, one guy had only ran a 5k before and when i saw him at mile 7 he said that that was the longest he had run ever - that's crazy! I hope he made it.

It took ten minutes to get to the start.  I forced myself to keep a slow pace, running over a ten minute mile.  I really wanted to run the race properly. A slow start, conserve the energy and have a faster second half than the first.  What actually happened was that there was barely 3 minutes between the first and second half split.  The that's just fine with me.  When i was hurting i was still running just a bit faster than the first half.

I had one packet of organic pomegranate chews and planned on drinking water at every station.  I ended up taking gatoraide 3 times and water 3 times and doubling up once.  It was warm out but with no shade and salt from the drying sweat it felt harshly hot.  I ran through a mister once and that was divine.

It was tough keeping pace. The adrenaline made me want to run faster, the crowds were spacious but everyone was running different paces so i just never settled in to a pace.  I checked my watch a ton. At the 8 mile mark i decided to push it a bit more.  I believe looking at my split stats that this just kept me on goal.

As i neared the end i really picked it up. I wanted to finish strong, knowing i was close got the adrenaline pumping again which gave me a boost.  The crowds were SUCKIE!!  Yes there were folks there, but they were't supportive.  They waited until their friends or family passed and ignored the rest of us.  I was very disappointed, and glad that the excitement of finishing my first HM was enough to turn on the adrenaline pump.  As you can see from the numbers i really tried hard at the end, and i passed a load of folks,  Only a few of us were really pushing for a strong finish. Everyone else just kept on moving.  I prefer my finish technique.  I may not be fast the previous 12.5 miles but i sure as shit will try to look it for the last .6 mile of the race.

And then it was over.  A bottle of water, a finishers medal, a dropped cookie which i grabbed for Jeff but then didn't want in my race picture, a granola bar also for Jeff tucked in my skirt out of sight, photo, banana, and then trying to find Jeff in the heat and blinding sun with sore legs.

What a fantastic morning!!!

I loved it.  

13.1 miles 2:10:44  (or Sally says 13.2 in 2:10:42)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Forgotten Run

Last week i ran a decent amount, even forgot about one run i did on Friday and it was 5 miles!  I totalled 23 miles which is really good for me.  But this week, this bathroom and kitchen renovation has really been getting in the way.  Monday i ran for an hour at 7am before the toil started.  I was intentially taking Tuesday off and planning on running yesterday.  That did not happen.  We were working till 10.30pm on the house.  I insisted Jeff get the bathroom walls finished so i can tile today.

Have you ever tiled a bathroom?  Well i can tell you that its no easy work.  There is a lot of crouching to standing to sitting to crouching to standing.  Up down up down like a yo-yo.  I remember when i did Jeffs bathroom, the next day i could hardly walk!! Its like slow strength training ALL DAY LONG.  

Admittedly this time i am in better shape and i know where i went wrong. Having the tile cutter on the floor was a mistake. Today i'm having it on a small table so i don't necessarily have to  get out of the bath to cut each tile.  I hope this will save my legs. I really don't want to run 13.1 miles on Sunday with dead aching legs from tiling.

So there will be no running today, but i will go tomorrow for an easy 4 miles i think.  And today i will stretch out after i finish, nice loooooong stretches.

On a good note, the kitchen is almost complete.  I did my first kitchen sink instillation yesterday (on my own) and it went fine.  I always learn something from doing a job the first time, and i did, but nothing that was so terrible.  I'd say the next one will be perfect. The tile back splash looks AMAZING i just can't wait to see the final look.  That will come monday or tuesday and i'll post pictures.

Well have a great weekend everyone.  I'll see you after i have PB'd my first HM!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Renovation progress

We have go to the point in the bathroom where we are building up as opposed to tearing out.  Jeff is getting the walls done so we can put in the bath and get the plumbing finished off.  Then Jeff will finish the walls and i can start prettifying - aka, tiling.  I hit the Depot today and bought subway tiles in snow white; i'm totally stoked to use these, i love them and they are pretty timeless and en vogue right now and i got some lovely mixed grey mosaic glass tile for a bit of pizazz and the grout and adhesive etc.  Its gonna be one schweet bathroom when i'm done!

On my second trip to home depot to buy the backer-board (this is the proper board to tile on in a bathroom, not just green board or standard drywall) i spotted some gorgeous glass mosaic tile that will be lovely in the kitchen. I wasn't going to go quite that fancy in the kitchen, it is a rental after all, but it was only $5 a sq foot, i only need 11 sq feet and it will give the kitchen a wow factor that is worth way more than $55!  I also lucked out on the counter top, they sell it in 10 foot lengths (just what i needed to then cut up, 8' being too small) and the one i have chosen is really pretty nice, for laminate.  When i got home i noticed that the paint i had found in my basement called Ginger, which is a creamy yellow, which i had considered painting the kitchen with was absolutely perfect to compliment the tile, almost matching one of the mosaic colours, and the cabinets match one of the other colours of tile too.  Superb!

Me and ma homies - Amanda, Scott, Me and Anne
My dinner last night. Seafood Paella at Craw Daddy's.  It was as good as it looks.

So even with a stinking hangover, i have had a productive day of shopping and painting woodwork in one of the bedrooms.

As for running, i did my recovery run, but it wasn't as nice as the one i did with the club. Mostly as that one was SO much fun, running trails with a group of fun folks.  Also, this one was hard on my legs as i was running on the pavement.  I ended up doing only 1.87 miles.

But yesterday i did a 5 miler before we went out to dinner and drinks which was really good, avg pace 9.04 min/mile  so i could almost call that my speed work for the week.  I really want to get back to my schedule, but i have heard the best kind of training plan is a flexible one, so as long as i keep the mileage up, do a long run a week and keep pushing myself, i think i should be okay till i get back to England.

I'm planning a 8-10 miler tomorrow as i want to get a long run in, but the Chicago HM is on Sunday coming so don't want to overdo it.  Also, i will be doing a lot of renovation work tomorrow too.  Thankfully Jeff is off work as its a bank holiday this weekend.  I just want to get this house DONE.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Giddy about my Future

I can't tell you how excited i am about moving to Oswestry.  Every time i think of something to search for in the area i get an answer that is better than i had hopes for.

A few things i have looked up

  • Kayaking
  • White water kayaking
  • Trails and hiking
  • Triathlon clubs and events
  • Bowling (the ten pin variety)
  • Swimming
  • Fishing (for Jeff)
  • Houses
  • Markets
  • Cycling 
It has it all I tell you!!  There are 3 markets a week and a farmers market every month.  I love market towns and Oswestry fits the bill nicely.  The population is about 15,000 which feels just right for what we were looking for. A town feel but so close to all the activities that living in the great British countryside brings.  We are 15 minutes from the white water rafting in Wales.  I can take my kayak out on the rivers around us. Jeff can fish on the rivers and on lakes just 15 minutes away.  I can cycle to Wales!!  Snowdonia is an hour away with great hiking, and camping.  Running trails will be easy, i my not even have to get in a car to do so.  If we live 'in' Oswestry, then the farthest away my work will be is 3 miles, so i can cycle in to work, or even walk depending!   Houses are reasonable and we will definitely be able to afford one with a big garden so we can grow veggies.

I think the thing i'm most excited about is the Tri club, the reasonably priced swimming pool, the running in the countryside and on trails and the kayaking, oh yeah and cycling.  Hmm so all the outdoor activity stuff then.  

And, of course the most amazing potential for photography.

I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I completed my 11 mile run this morning.  It went ok, i used my fuel belt for the first time which was great as i drank everything in it and ate a packet of Gu chomps.  I'm pleased with the time 11.5 miles in 2:00:19 so a 10:27  avg pace.  My hip flexors started to ache at about mile 8 and my knees a little too but really no pain to speak of.  It was 80 degrees but it didn't really bother me like i thought it would do.  All that running in hot-ass-Asia must have helped.

Think i'll go for a recovery run tomorrow, the last time i did that it felt really good.  I just wish i was near some trails i could run on.

Well, gotta go stain some kitchen cabinets.

heat induced procrastination

Man oh man, will i ever get this 11 mile run done?  I really want to, don't get me wrong, but today was not the day, after too much booze again.  And in the grand scheme of things, i didn't really even drink that much.  A Bloody Mary at 4pm and a beer after, then 2 glasses of wine with dinner and a whiskey when i got home.  But that little lot made me completely incapable of running this morning.  And by the time i had dropped Jeff off at work it was almost 90 degrees. Boo!!!

So tomorrow is the day. I am preparing tonight, with a somewhat healthy dinner, no booze and a decent amount of carbs. I will go to bed early lets say 11pm after drinking a big glass of water.  That has two benefits. 1) keeping me well hydrated after all the sweating i did painting and decorating today, and 2) i will need to go to the loo in the morning therefore i will find it easier to get out of bed.

So perhaps you want to know about my job then?  I will be working for the NHS in Robert Jones Agnes Hunt Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire as a Senior Orthotist.  I am thrilled with the position.  The job sounds great, the salary what i was looking for and the location in the UK perfect.  We wanted to live in the country and this puts us in a beautiful spot.  The best thing about the area is that we are a stones throw away from three fantastic cities, the second and third largest in the country; Birmingham and Manchester respectively, and also a touch closer is Liverpool; a city i recently went to for the first time and was impressed and longed to return to.  So I can still get a really decent shopping fix pretty easy.  The drive home to my parents is 3.5 hours - not too bad.  3 Hours to my brother.  I have friends in Manchester and we are only half a days drive from friends in Plymouth.  All in all, i am super glad i turned down the first job and held out for one i wanted.  The oddest thing was i actually turned down 2 other jobs on the same day i accepted that one.  They all came at once.  It was a pretty good day :)

Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home away from Home

Oh yeah, I got a job.  But more on that in a few days when i can be bothered to tell you.

So i'm here in Milwaukee again, only 6 months since i was here last.  When i said it would probably be 5 years till i returned!

I arrived on Thursday after a none eventful journey, bar the one hour late take off.  Jet lag had me getting up at 4am on Friday absolutely starving.  I ate and passed the time surfing till Jeff got up. I took him to work and went for my first run in MKE that was warm.  The sun was shining, it was low-mid 70s and i took the lake front path so there was a slight breeze.  There were a few running groups out, folks on bikes but at 9.30am it was pretty quite still.  I did a there and back, aiming for 4 miles but even before i set off i realised how hungry i was.  It didn't occur to me to eat again, even though it was 5 hours since i'd had breakfast.  By the last couple of miles i was hurting but i came across a mantra i like 'run through the pain'.  It worked, i ran and ran but just couldn't make 4 miles and walked for a few minuets at the 3.5m mark.  I was disappointed, its been a while since i have given up on a speed or mileage goal but the whole travel thing, hunger like i hadn't eaten in days and the heat which i haven't been running in for a while just added up.

3.5m   32:20  avg pace 9:14

Today is supposed to be my long run day but we played cards last night and i had a few beers.  I thought i'd be up early again, and if so i would beat the heat if i felt good.  But no, awake at 7.30, its already warm and i feel those 3 beers.  So i'm just going to do it tomorrow (the luxury of the 'i have a job but not started it yet').  Its not like today will be a rest day though. I have been cleaning my rental (my last tenets were filthy, i can't believe people really live like that) and we demo'd the bathroom yesterday too.  So today brings more demo, trash removal and, well, probably after that just some bowling.  But no beer drinking.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

15 trains 3 buses 2 interviews and a days work

Yep, that was my Monday to Friday.  I did a lot of miles this week.  The interviews both went well and i got an offer from the first one, and i am expecting an offer from the second on Monday when they can tell me how much they will pay me.  I still have other interviews and its getting complicated.  I can't keep declining jobs but nothing so far is just perfect.  But the interview on sept 1st i'm kinda holding out for that job. But at least i have offers and therefore within 2 weeks, i will have accepted job.  Yay!!!!

I stayed with my brother for a few days between the interviews as i was doing a days locum work in Orpington Kent.  The day was BUSY.  I usually would see a patient every half hour and sometimes squeezing people in as needed if i had time.  But here, i was scheduled every 15 minutes and had walk in's as well as a ward patient.  I have to say, i prefer to be busy at work and enjoyed working again. It has been over 6 months since i last worked, i miss it.

Paul and i went on a run together on Tuesday.  I think he is faster than me though we ran together, the return leg he was in front and i just kept up.  It was tough to the end.  Maybe partly to do with my lack breakfast. We had had lunch but i usually eat all three meals a day (and some) but he didn't have anything i could eat in the house so waited till we fetched lunch to eat. 

4.27m   39:50  9:20 avg pace

Wednesday i worked and hung out with Paul and Hannah, after a lovely fish dinner Paul made.  It was so nice to spend some time with them both.  I haven't seen them in FOR.EVER.

Thursday i travelled up to Aberdeen. I got to the hotel about 7pm.  The train journey was loooong (7hrs 20mins) and the bus to the hotel was late and i had a right time even working out where to get it from.

I quick changed and headed out, it was warm and sunny. I had no music but that doesn't bother me when i'm running somewhere new.  I like to feel safe and blocking off the world inhibits that.  I ran to where my interview was to see how far it would be walking.  .86 miles from the hotel, that meant i didn't need to take my case to the interview, i could walk there and back and not be late checking out.

3.79m 33:07   avg pace 8.44

I didn't mean to run fast, and i tried to slow down but i couldn't. Weird.  So i just went with it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No Sandbagging the Handicap race.

Last night i ran the Scarb'AC handicap race. As a newbie to the club the race doesn't count, its merely to find out how fast you run to evaluate you for your handicap next time.  They set me off first with a 5 minute handicap along side another fellow, who looks about 75, i thin he is about 75 too.  No one caught me and i have the joy of crossing the line first 'winning' without winning.  I'm sure, the only time i will cross that line first.

It was a bugger of a course, after a 2 minute warm up down hill the first mile was all up hill.  Then continued to be undulating the whole course.  I considered not putting in my full effort so get a more advantageous handicap but it seems my legs didn't want to sandbag, i couldn't stop myself from going full throttle.  4.47m in 40:38 avg pace 9:05!!  Really surprised and chuffed with that pace.

I was just looking back at DM and saw a post 6 months ago which read:
3 mi 00:29   09:46 pace
well i felt bloody uncomfortable actually. I was running with Brady in Chicago - who runs a 7-8 min mile normally, so he made me run faster. It was really good having someone pushing me. Wish i could hire him! My legs could have gone way further, but my lungs were shot!

Look how far i have come in 6 months.  I remember that run was really tough for me.  I'm not sure how much more my legs could have done, but i was done by that last sprint at the end.  Now i can run 4.5 miles at a 9:05 pace and wasn't hurting anywhere near as much.  I probably could have gone faster, but i wasn't aiming for pain, I'd say my effort was 9/10 which was plenty.

Don't know whether to do a recovery 3 miles today, i feel a bit stiff and Monday really felt good. yes, i think i will, then ride tomorrow and long run on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yummie Scrummie GF food

If you don't know, i have coeliac disease. I have been diagnosed 3+ years and probably only had my symptoms for a year prior to diagnosis. I was a lucky one. So many suffer without the proper diagnosis for years, even decades.

I read a lot of sports magazines, websites and blogs and there is a big trend for athletes to go gluten free whilst training.  Good for them i think, i probably wouldn't do it if i didn't need to.  Of course, they only go mostly GF and probably ignore things like the wheat in soy sauce, barley in rice crispies and would eat standard porridge oats etc. They leave out the part that makes it difficult to live on a strict GF diet, the small hidden gluten.  And i don't blame them for that.

I have two opinions on this.  First, i think it's that great to have professional athletes using the words Gluten Free for it spreads knowledge to the masses.  For other, lay athletes to ask for GF food in restaurants, to increase sales on GF foods which will in turn make them more available and maybe cheaper eventually, due to increased sales.

But on the other hand, people who aren't on a strict GF diet can also spoil it for those of us who need one.  They say they are going GF but don't really, they don't understand fully (or care) where all gluten is hidden, they don't care about cross contamination, they speak of just not eating wheat products.  This can send mixed signals to vendors, wait-staff and chefs that they will accept eating a particular product, cooked in a certain manor that is in fact not GF, it just doesn't contain wheat.  I wish they would say they need Low Gluten food.

*** *** ***

This past week i have had a baking frenzy.  My Dr f'ed up my prescription, but in a good way.  I ended up with a script for 24 boxes of white bread mix and 24 for brown. Each box makes two loafs.  They are super versatile and you can make biscuits, cakes, crumpets, all sorts of things.  So i claimed just half of my prescription and got baking.

Cheese scones on the left, fruit scones on the right.


Zucchini bread.
On Sunday my parents are helping out with a fundraiser for the Oriel Cricket Grounds and there will be a refreshment stand.  I decided to add a GF selection.  I plan to make a couple of zucchini breads and maybe some scones.  How nice is it when you have a choice when you weren't expecting to find anything you could snack on?  I understand that zucchini bread is not a popular treat here in the UK, so i think i will simply call it a loaf cake and leave tasting squares to convince them, you only need a little bit to be convinced its good.
So how much would you pay for that slice of moist sweet and delicious cake at a fundraiser?

Monday, August 9, 2010

On Top of the World

Okay this just rocks. 
After yesterdays accidental 10 miles i never would have imagined how good i would feel running today.
I joined the running club again and we hit the trails.
I had so much fun and i felt strong and full of energy. The complete opposite to how i imagined i would feel.
I didn't run slow either. As there is so much stopping and starting, climbing over stiles, occasional walking on logs and precarious edges when it came to running i found myself running, comfortably, in the 8 minute pace bracket. 
There was this steep rocky hill and the 10 or so people in front of me were walking up it, but one guy just kept on running, weaving past the walkers, so i just kept up with him, i ran the whole way up(and did not die at the top).
That really boosted my confidence. I Can Run Hills.  My usual Olivers Mount 3 miler (all hills) is obviously working for me, practice does make perfect.
Close to the end, we ran through a river, it cleaned our muddy shoes a bit.
We covered 5.81 miles and i enjoyed every single step. 
I have fallen in love with trail running.
So please as you finish reading this post, imagine me, with the biggest grin on my face, for i think it will be there for some time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Regretting Running Naked? No.

Today as i set out for my 8 miler, i considered the route i had planned and thought to myself how nice it was to be able to run with nothing but my gummy sweets for fuel and my ipod.  No need for a phone, pepper spray, or even a emergency pound.  Why would i need any of these?  I now my route, its safe, its the middle of the day, its sunny with wisps of cloud but not hot, and i'm only running 8 miles, i can go without water for 1:20mins.  I like that i say only, that it doesn't scare me. I have done it once before but that was by mistake when i lost my dads hat and did a one mile retreat to see if i could find it.  I wasn't prepared then, but this time i was, i had a plan, a route and fuel.

Running along thinking of when i will be running my HM i remember an article where the expert said there is no reason you can't make every workout in to a quality one, just up the pace for a few miles or minutes or by adding race pace in to your long runs.  Not wanting to over do it, i decide that miles 5 and 6 would be at 9:30 /mile: my race pace to hit a HM of 2:05.  I realised that would also mean that i was going to be trying to eat my gummy sweets while running faster but hey, i have to do that on race day too.  Miles 5 and 6 flew by, it was easy....


...I missed my turn off.  My mind had wondered, like my feet and by the time i realised there was no point in turning back.  I had gone too far.  How far?  I came to the road sign that read i had 4 miles home. I was at mile 6!

At mile 7.45 i passed a shop and caravan park with holiday makers lolling about, enjoying the nice weather. I considered, every. five. steps, going in to that shop and begging for 1. water 2. a phone call to my dad.  Cursing myself for running naked, no money; no phone; no water; i wondered if i'd make it home. The shop and holiday makers passed. I was on a main road, running the hard shoulder, not a fun place to be, going up hill, but i plodded on. Mile 8 passed, mile 9 passed. I knew i was just over a mile home, thank goodness for living closer than the sign thought i did.  10.27 miles.

The last mile i picked up the pace, all down hill and desperate to stop.  I had made it. Unlike when i first started, and my legs would go way further than my lungs, this was vise versa. I walked a 1/4 mile to cool down and when in got home and stopped i felt it. My legs ached all over.  But a good ache. An ache i want again. I felt great.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Road Blocks

You know when you want something and its a time distance away, everything goes so very slow.  Every morning as you shake the sleep from your brain you realise yet another day must pass. You must eat three meals, brush your teeth twice, dress and undress, perhaps two or three times depending on what you are doing or where you work.  You must, read, clean, go to work, water plants, help with home work and shop.  Each task filling the slots of time before what you want will arrive.  Yet, when you are having the time of your life, doing the thing you last waited for, laughing, accomplishing, relishing in that longed for activity, that person, that job, that event, a day is but a mere second a week but a heart beat in time.

I feel like i want too much right now, though i know that what i want is less selfish; less materialistic than i normally want for, it is very much more frustrating and uncomfortable.  I want a job, i want my husband next to me, i want to swim, i want to race 13.1 miles tomorrow, i want a finishers medal in Tri this season, i want my paid for cycling shoes so i can train in what i will race.  I want a garden so i can grow my own food, i want a baby-a family of my own.

And i hate that i want so much right now, when i know that i'm lucky to have what i do.  I have time.  Time to find the right job, with little pressure to just take the first one offered; as i have a roof over my head and food on my dinner plate.  I have time with my parents after being away for so long.  Time to train, time to run, bike and run some more. Time to bake, read, clean and socialise, to help my friend with her allotment. I have lots of time. Perhaps, sometimes i feel, too much time.

Lots of Time and lack of Money (read:being unemployed) can often be like mental road blocks.  Sometimes they are those bright orange plastic ones, they make you change lanes or stop, but you can go around them on a bicycle, you could pick them up and move them if you so desire, if you have the strength. Others you can not, those are motorway dividers, three ton blocks of cement, diverting your course with no chance of slipping by; sneaking off behind one, even if you slowed down, or in fact sped up, these just will not budge.

I have to try to differentiate between these road blocks in my life right now.  They are not always obvious, orange or cement, light or heavy.  But if i continually get diverted without trying to go around, trying to pick up and move the orange blocks, i will never get to where i want to be. I will end up at Lands End instead of John 'O Graots.

For instance, if I take a slight detour I can do a dualthlon instead of a triathlon as I have a trainers and a bike. They are cheaper to enter and no cost to train. Though I have been in essence training for a HM since I started running, in janurary, in the grand scheme of things i'm doing one pretty soon. I'm job hunting and will get a job soon which will allow me to get everything I want. In the mean time I just have to keep my chin up eat three meals and brush my teeth twice a day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Running in Company

Last night i joined the Scarborough Athletic Club for a run. It was really good fun. I didn't know what to expect just that it would be about an hour. James, a family friend who invited me picked me up and introduced me to a few people when we arrived.  I have no idea why but i said we've know each other since we were kids when we used to do plays together (Christmas gatherings and big sisters who would insist on our performance, as dire as it was).  Well you should have seen his face turn beetroot. It immediately got twisted to us swapping clothes and was announced to the whole of the club, about 20 people.  Quite hilarious, at least for me and the others, probably less so for James.

The run was off road intervals where we would stop and meet after 3-5 minutes running, at the end of the field or road junction or the like. The fastest of the bunch would double back and run to the last people and then come back, giving them longer running and short breaks.  I really enjoyed myself, it was nice running with others, the interval approach wasn't what i was expecting but kept up nicely and pushed it hard on some parts, eased off on others.  I plan to go on Monday and Thursday next week then decide if i want to join for real.  I probably will.  I get the discount on my race entries and i enjoyed having company for a change.

So with this may come a different training plan. I'm supposed to rest/XT on Mondays and i would have done a long run on Sunday, so i may change my long to Saturdays giving me a day off after, either that or take Mondays interval run easy. We will see...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

So i believe this morning i stated that i was planning a two hour bike ride. Yeah right, two bloody hours, not likely mate!  I spent all day moping around the house missing my husband, we skyped last night for the first time and it just made me miss him a ton. I haven't seen him in a month now, and who knows when the next time will be.

Anyway, i eventually got myself in the mindset and planned a route that would be about 45-50 minutes. Given my mood, i thought that was a success right there.  Undecided on whether to take my phone or not - i have no pockets or stash place yet - i stuffed a fiver in my bra (which i just retrieved as i wrote this) and it stayed surprisingly dry. It would be just my luck to get a puncture (another thing i don't have is a repair kit) in the middle of somewhere and no phone and no one to call if i did have one (my parents are out of town).

But i got out there. Eventually.

I missed my turn off and ended up in Filey, a seaside town up the road (south) from Scarborough.  That was 7 miles. I was tempted to take a look around, its been 15+ years since i was in Filey, but my legs decided 14 miles were going to be just fine and round the round-a-bout i went heading back to the 'borough.  It was about mile 10 i looked at Sally, and saw i had only done 42 minutes where it felt like i'd been riding for 70+ minutes. And i still had 4 to go and some hills to boot.

I feel a whole lot better for going out, though my girly bits do not! I gotta get me some cycling shorts!

14.29miles in 1:04:04 avg pace 13.4mph

Mersey Running

My second week in my schedule went acording to plan, though i was tres lazy and didn't cross train one bit.  Wednesday i went to Oswestry for an interview. I aced it but was up against 4 other Aces and they chose the Ace of Clubs, not me the Ace of Hearts.  Their loss.  They did say that if they get funding for more staff in the next month they would call, but with the state of the NHS right now, i doubt i'll be getting that call. I really wanted to work there, that one hurt not to get.

As i was on that side of the country, i joined my parents, aunt and uncle in Liverpool until sunday. Liverpool i a lovely city. We were staying in Alber Dock on their narrow boat so i did my runs down the  Mersey foot path.

Daydream and Mister Kite.

Triathletes training in Albert Dock. I was so very jealous, i almost jumped in with them.  It would be great to live where i didn't have to pay for pool fees to train. 

We went to Crosby Beach to see these statues. There are 100 of them scattered over about a mile of beach. Some are close others are way out in the sea.  Its caller Another Place, by Antony Gormley.  They are hidden when the tide is in and some completely out of the water at low tide.

Catholic Cathedral.  Stunning inside too.

My tuesday 3 easy turned in to 4.5 miles, but thats ok, i dont mind going over my running numbers, just don't want to go under.  Thursday (down the Mersey, a flat but partially cobbled path) was suposed to be 5 miles with 2x 1600m @9:00, 800m jog between.  I had programmed Sally to do this workout then changed my pace zones and forgot to change the programme.  Didnt realise this until 2 miles in when i wasn't doing what i  thought i was supposed to be.  So i cranked out the workout like this:
1.1m @ 9:32
1m @ 8:17
.25 @ 9:57
1m @ 9:03
.25 @ 11:21
1m @ 12:01

So yeah, got that a bit wrong from the start as, 1) 800m is half a mile not a quarter and 2) i didn't end up with 5 miles but 4.6m  The last 1.25 miles was a bitch, my my calves were rock solid with lactic acid.  They eased off right at the end as i was running so slow but the second speed mile was also running in to head wind, i could not physically run any faster, that was an all out effort to get the 9:03

My long run was more successful.  I ran a touch faster then my scheduled time, but i was comfortable the whole way. I didn't have any music which was a new thing for a long run.  I didn't mind the lack of tunes for my speed session, i needed to hear Sally beep at me and wanted to concentrate on speed. But on the long run, not sying i got bored, but i'd prefered to have had beats to plod to.  7 miles in 1:11:54  fastest mile mile 7 @ 9:47 slowest mile 3 @ 10:38

Since then i also ran 2.5 on monday as i wasn't inspired to XT, i just wanted to run and 3 miles yesterday, both at easy paces.  Today, i'm planning a 2 hour bike ride. Doubling the length i have ridden my new bike. or my old one in fact!