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

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!