Enjoying results…

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So just a quick blog post tonight, seeing as I’ve yet again not written one for a while. Not much to report really, except to say I’ve booked another triathlon. I’ve now got two in the pipeline for this year, the one in June and one right at the end of the season in September. The September one will be the same as I did last year, but I’ll be doing the sprint distance instead of super sprint. I figured it made sense to do that… firstly as it’ll keep me focused right through summer, and secondly as I know the format for that event, I’m already looking forward to it more as I’m not stressing over check ins and setting up for transition etc. I know the course (even if it will be double) so hopefully I’ll enjoy it.

Training has been going a little better, though I’m still not fitting it in as well as I should. Must try harder!

So anyway the main reason I thought I’d blog was to add a picture (one I had taken last week) as I quite liked it. I thought it would be a good one to add here as it reminds me that all the work pays off. It’s good to be able to enjoy the results I think πŸ™‚

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Excuses, excuses. Lots of excuses!

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Well it’s been ages since I blogged. I guess you can tell just by that that the training has kinda been following the same route! I think it’s almost inevitable around November/December with the change in the weather. Unless you’re pretty hardcore anyway.

It’s been weeks since I trained properly… it pretty much fell apart around November, and since then I’ve only really dropped in a couple of cardio sessions and a few weights sessions. I’ve a stack of billiant excuses though, the first one being Christmas prep. You know how it is, there are a ton of excuses there with having to buy presents, put Christmas trees up, attend kids’ Christmas events at schools and other bits that just take up your usual training times. As soon as you start missing a session you find an excuse to miss another! So the Christmas excuse leads to an even better one… My youngest daughter got ill and was off school for a week, which led to me being ill and looking after her for another three weeks… Am I convincing anyone yet? No? Me either, though I was genuinely pretty rough for a good 3 weeks. My last excuse (and probably the best one) is a really bad case of lazyitits which hit around New Year and that has been a real struggle to get over πŸ˜‰ Too many times I have had good intentions and then just ignored that alarm call on a Saturday morning!

So last night I was determined. Determined to keep repeating to myself the good old saying “Make excuses, or make progress” and that today WAS going to be the day I got back on track. Things were sliding, I’d gained a few pounds and I knew that every day my fitness was dropping off and I’d be back at square one if I wasn’t careful. That’s something I desperately don’t want, so I set that alarm (again), packed my bag in advance (if it’s not done the night before it’s way more difficult to get out of bed and go!) and decided to get an early night. Pretty sad on a Friday night, but hey, I was determined remember!

So I got in bed and within 2 minutes my youngest daughter woke up crying. Brilliant. Cue 30 minutes+ of comforting her and trying to work out what was wrong with her. All the while looking out of her window and seeing snow falling heavily and wondering whether my whole ‘effort’ was worth it. The early night hadn’t happened, and with the snowfall, what were the chances of staff being able to get in to the leisure centre the next morning?! Sounds like I was talking myself out of it again, doesn’t it?! Well yes. I was. So eventually I got back in bed a good 45 minutes later than intended and told myself it wasn’t worth getting up early and traipsing through snow (yes, I’m walking distance away) as there was no point if the leisure centre wasn’t even going to be open. Somehow, as I laid there though, I told myself that this excuse was just NOT good enough… I HAD to get back to it, and the ONLY excuse acceptable for not doing so was turning up at the leisure centre and finding it shut!

Well the alarm went off and the temptation to ignore was pretty strong, but somehow I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed. I trudged up the road in the snow, and as I did so made a mental note to acquire new socks as bits of snow flicked inside my boots and hit my feet. Then made another mental note to walk nearer the houses and not the road as a car went by flinging slush at the side of my leg. Remind me again why I was doing this?! Still I got to the leisure centre without falling over (result) and saw 2 guys had been clearing snow from the main doors. I bet THAT wasn’t in their job description! There was just one vehicle in the car park. Well assuming they’d managed to get a lifeguard in, I had a feeling my workout was going to be a quiet one!

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(Told you it was quiet!)

So I went in, signed in for both the pool and the gym and booked weights classes for tomorrow and Friday. I’d already decided I had to book those as it’s far harder for me to drop out of classes once booked in, so there’s a start. I hit the pool first which was pretty quiet. In fact after the first 10 minutes or so I managed to get a lane to myself for the rest of the hour which was nice. It seemed SO hard this morning, which is unsurprising really, and my time reflected it. 9mins 43secs for 400m really annoyed me as I’d got that down to 8mins 21secs in the summer. I’ve only got myself to blame though, and I’ve got to sort that out for a start. I’d only really planned to do 60 lengths this morning but decided I may as well go the full hour, as I needed the practice! I finished up at 80 lengths (2k) so at least if nothing else I’d put in a fair effort. Spinning was equally as hard, and even though I managed the 10k I wanted it was a real struggle to keep going. Treadmil I knew was going to be the toughest challenge, and almost as soon as I had started I knew I was right. I decided that there was no point attempting to run like I’d not had a break for weeks, so thought the most sensible thing was to revert back to interval training. While not exactly ideal I still covered 2k which wasn’t a bad effort. All in all a fair training session considering everything, and I’m in tomorrow for that weights session, so here’s hoping this is the end of the excuses for a while!!

Oh and in other news, I did at least make an effort with a 100m Boxing Day lake swim. With a water temperature of 4.9 degrees I’d go so far as to say that was utter stupidity, particularly as it was while I was still ill, but… as they say… no pain, no gain. That is pretty much a lie though, I have never felt pain like it in my life, and though I did gain a medal for doing it, I’m not sure that’s enough of a gain for me to be that foolish again πŸ˜€

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(Boxing Day swim stupidity!)

Fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat!

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Well there’s a confusing title right there, how can fat not make you fat? It’s obvious, right? Fat makes you fat! Well wrong actually, in my opinion anyway.

I’m always playing around with my diet to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tried loads of different things, some of which have worked short term and others haven’t, but the more recent thing I’ve been sticking with is carb limitation. Not a totally low carb way of eating (I don’t seem to get on too well with that) but a restriction. Generally in loose terms it means I usually have one carb free meal a day, and even the meals I do have carbs in I eat less than I used to eat with more emphasis on the vegetables and protein. I’ve been doing this for probably around about 6 months or so but I’ll be honest I’ve been a lot less strict with my diet in that time calorie wise. I’m into more of a maintenance phase, just losing a pound or two a month which I’m OK with as I’ve not really got a stack of weight to lose anymore. Plus I like food, so now and again I have to take time out of being too strict, so that I can enjoy it!

So the main reason for the post is my take on the whole ‘fat’ thing. A few months ago I was looking at the whole reason for lower carb ways of eating and a lot of things mention how carbs restrict the way in which fat is processed and can actually mean you store fat. Switching to lower carb means the fat isn’t stored but is burned off as fuel instead. Of course it’s way more complicated than that, but I thought it seemed worth giving a go as it meant I could go back to eating more of some of my favourite things. Cheeeeeeese for a start!! The other scary thing was that to go with the low carb you need to increase fat intake, which was really difficult at first. I mean you’re so conditioned to believe fat is bad for you, and I’d always opted for low fat things, for so many years. Yes I was one of those guilty of going to McD’s for a large Big Mac meal and a diet coke πŸ˜‰ But anyway, it was tough at first, but gradually I’ve added things in. Cheese, cream, dark chocolate and lashings of butter on things have all found their way into my life! In some ways I’ve found carb restriction easier than low calorie/fat as you can pretty much eat anything you want as long as you plan around it.

So this is the interesting part… now I’m eating all this fat, how much weight have I gained? Well none. I got on my brother’s scales a few days ago and was really surprised by the readings I got as I’ve not used them for a while. Since the last time I’d used the scales there was a gap of 5 months. In that time I’d lost 2kg, but the most surprising thing was I had lost around 2.5% body fat. Now based on other readings I’ve taken in the last year or so losing 2kgs has never resulted in much more than a 1% fat loss. Indeed at one reading even losing 3.5kg had resulted in less than a 1% fat loss.Β  The other thing was that for the first time since using these scales my visceral fat was 7. It has been at 8 for about 18 months! Also my muscle percentage had increased by almost 1.5% which is the most significant I’d seen… fairly surprising since I’ve not been exercising as much now the triathlon season has finished. Additionally I’ve had my measurements redone and I’ve lost quite a good amount from all areas in this time too, particularly from my waist, hips and thighs.Β  So there we have it. I think the results speak for themselves.. and they’re telling me to keep eating cheese. Lots and lots of cheese πŸ˜€

Maybe time to try something new? Barefoot running?

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So today I’ve done my usual thing of a brick session at the gym. A 7k cross country cycle followed by a disappointing 1k run as I had to stop because of my knee.Β  I did the same last week but pushed the run to a 3k even though my knee was playing up from about 2k. As soon as I’d finished I knew I shouldn’t have as my knee hurt and although it eases off pretty quickly, it does mean I can’t really attempt to run again for a few days while it settles. I’ve been getting this since around August. Not sure why but it just appeared one training session at about 1k and has pretty much been there every training session since.Β  Sometimes it occurs within the first km, sometimes I can make it to 2k before it appears, but it’s not going away. After doing the usual thing of self diagnosing with the help of google (yeah, yeah I know it’s not a personal doctor) the chances are it’s an IT band issue. I figure this means putting some stretches in to try and help, plus I think picking CX worx back up might be of benefit as I had dropped that in the summer… maybe that was helping my core stability and could be a contributing factor.Β  Who knows?

So as I have to keep restricting my runs to short ones (which is pretty damn frustrating as the whole point is I want to be able to run further) I’m debating trying barefoot running. Not strictly barefoot as I’m not that hardcore and my local pathways aren’t that kind!Β  But minimalist footwear style to encourage forefoot striking as I’m certainly a heelstriker in trainers. I spend as much of the day barefoot as I can anyway so it seems to make sense that I may get on better with that style of running. Research also suggests it puts less strain on the knees which would definitely be a good thing.Β  Maybe it will help with the IT issue also, but as you have to start with much shorter runs while different muscles adapt to the new style, it figures I may as well try while I’m limited in what I can do anyway. Getting some cheap footwear and giving it a go has to be worth a shot. It’s cheaper than paying to see a sports injury specialist anyway, something I’m desperately trying to avoid!

I really was in denial… 5 stone 5lb down…

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Just a short post today. Been deliberating whether to blog this all day as it’s a scary post to put ‘out there’ for all to see. It’s one thing to whack pics on facebook or a restricted site for a few hundred ‘friends’ to see, but to post bikini pics with all your fat on display that anyone can see is pretty damn hard.Β  Half the point of blogging though is to prove that anyone can do this thing if I can.Β  We all get to see fake pictures of woman miraculously losing tons of weight to have a super glamourous model figure at the end. We either know they’re fake – or worse – we fall for it, so it seems to make sense to me that the realistic facts are shown.Β  These days people often think they can’t do it, or wonderous diet pills, liposuction and other magic fixes are the answer.Β  The truth is they’re often excuses to avoid putting the real effort in, but adjusting your diet plus exercising is all that’s needed to bring results.Β  Any quick fix will never change the way you think and view food/exercise and in my opinion the only way you’ll achieve lasting results is to address both of those.Β  I’ll never have the body of a model, or anything like it, but I think I look better than I did!Β  Pic below shows October 2008 on the left, and October 2012 on the right. Minus 5 stone 5lb.Β  Still a work in progress obviously, but it seemed a good time to make a comparison. PS – Don’t be too harsh, I have had 5 kids πŸ˜‰

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A catch up…

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Thought I’d write a bit of a catch up post seeing as I’ve not blogged for a while. Not a lot has happened, mainly because triathlon season is done for the year, but I have booked my first event for 2013. I’m moving up to the sprint distance, so some serious training will need to be done! That’s about the only real news, but there are always a few thoughts worth writing down, so I thought I’d blog those. Mainly the ones that occur because of the huge change in lifestyle. I never cease to be amazed by the way my brain interprets things now, to the way it got conditioned to think for so many years.

I recently went on holiday to Egypt for a couple of weeks, and I spent a lot of time thinking about body image and suchlike. Well it’s hard not to when you spend all day around a pool and have access to food all day long because it’s all inclusive! I think there were two main things I focused on.

1) My body image, how my body looks compared to others, and indeed how others perceive me.

I came to the conclusion here that these days I pretty much blend in. Previously I probably would have looked obviously fatter than a lot of people which made me self conscious. Sure I still have less than desirable wobbly bits, but actually so did pretty much ALL of the women round the pool in one way or another!! Unless they were about 16-20 years old anyway, and even then there were still barely any that didn’t have less than desirable parts. This sounds like I spent the entire time being critical of other women, which is far from the truth. It was a deliberate exercise to put things into perspective in my own head and it made me realise women should quit worrying. The fact is women often see perfect images of other women and feel they should compare to that, but the truth is that in the real world it’s just not like that. Sure there may be some near perfect women out there, but generally speaking they’re very young women, who’ve never had kids and one day even they’re going to get old, wrinkly and saggy πŸ˜› 20 year olds will be 40 one day, and who knows which ones will take care of themselves?! All you can do is try to be the best you can be for yourself. Trying to get the body of a 20 year old is unachievable, unless you’re 20!!Β  Realistically I look no worse than a lot of women my age, and actually far better than some who aren’t bothering to look after themselves, including some younger than me! I’ve still got improvements to make to myself, but only realistic ones πŸ™‚

2) Just because there’s all inclusive food doesn’t mean you have to eat it all.

And there are so many people that do! I’m not sure where the mentality comes from but it seems that because there’s unlimited food, you have to consume as much as you possibly can, to get the value out of it. This applies to alcohol as well, and it’s a very bizarre thing when you think about it. Indeed I’d have been guilty of eating way too much food in the past, but this time my head was stuck in a different thought process. One that seems to make more sense to me now, and that is that just because food/alcohol is there, you don’t ‘need’ to eat/drink it. Sure there’s a load of choice, but just because there is, you should still only be eating what your body NEEDS, not what it wants. Alcohol was no issue to me, I literally had 2 cocktails in 2 weeks because I’m just not bothered (except for one night when I went out of the complex to a nightclub!!) Food was slightly harder though. Indeed some days were harder than othes, specially when your parents and kids are sat there tucking into a huge ice cream cone, but mostly I managed to resist. One comment I remember clearly when I was being asked (yet again) why I wasn’t having an ice cream was the classic “I’m on holiday” line. My argument was that if I ate everything I wanted on holiday I’d spend 2 weeks trying to get the weight off again, so what was the point! I have to confess to eating ice cream a couple of times though… they were damn good!!

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So there you go, there’s a few of my recent thoughts summed up. Another point worthy of note is that having worn a rather skimpy outfit out last night, I actually got complimented on my legs. Pretty bizarre as I’ve never been told that in my life, and I was concerned about the outfit showing too much leg as I think they’re far from good legs! I’m happy with that though, because they can’t have looked that bad after all πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Couch potato to triathlete in 9 months…

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Firstly, apologies to all who have been waiting for this blog post. The last 10 days have been pretty busy for me as I’ve had so much to catch up on that got a bit neglected in the run up to the triathlon! I’ve had my father’s funeral, an essay from hell that wouldn’t finish itself, a stack of things to sort out ready for a family holiday next week, plus the usual juggling game of bringing up kids single handedly. That looks like a pretty decent excuse list I reckon, but anyway, here it is… The blog entry of my first ever triathlon πŸ™‚

So I wasn’t trying to conquer the world or anything, but it felt a bit like I was attempting the impossible when I signed up for the triathlon. It was ‘just’ a super sprint, so a 400m open water swim, followed by a 10.6k cycle and a 2.5k run. I guess to a lot of people that doesn’t sound a lot, but the point is I was new to exercise. In January I could barely manage a minute of running and felt like I was about to die. When I signed up for the triathlon in about April the most I’d run was a mile, and as for cycling, the last time I’d cycled was about 2009, barely managing 2 or 3 miles and looking like I’d run a marathon when I finished! Oh and I’d never even attempted open water swimming, although I was a confident pool swimmer! I’d begun exercising in January after years of doing no real exercise, having lost around 2 stone by dieting, but wanted to sort my fitness levels out a bit and lose some more weight. Signing up for the triathlon was an attempt to keep myself focused as I knew I’d have to put some real work in to accomplish it, and there’d be no slacking off from the gym. It seemed a bit of a crazy idea, but after I’d entered the triathlon, I signed up for an intro to open water lesson, and got stuck into some training. At no point did I ever think the triathlon was going to be easy. Even with training a 2.5k run was pretty tough going, and the idea of being able to accomplish that after two other disciplines seemed craziness! So how did it go?

Well I’d already decided on staying near the venue from the Friday night through til the Monday so that I’d be able to chill out a little, rather than rushing around the day before and on the day of the event. That worked well as I was able to sort everything I needed well in advance, eat well and not have any stress to worry about from small people! On the morning of the event I was a bit stressed though and wondered if I had done enough training to get me through (but I bet most people feel like that). Generally as I’d eaten pretty well and trained well in the couple of weeks before the day I knew I was about as prepared as I could possibly be. I think I was clock watching all day though! I’d decided on a time to leave to get to the venue, and got all my drinks and gear ready, but still kept hanging back in case I’d forgotten something! We left on time though, got to the venue with plenty of time to spare and got all my gear and the bike out of the car. Seriously though, how much stuff do you need?! I’m so glad I had my friend Rod with me, as carrying everything plus pushing a bike would be an art in itself! But anyway, we set off towards registration, with me stopping every few minutes to check something! Whether I’d remembered my ID, trying to see where the turn point for the run was, observing how far that turn point was from the finish line and trying to work out the cycle course! I guess I can be a nightmare at times trying to assess all eventualities!

At the registration point everything was pretty straightforward as it was a similar process to the one I’d gone through when I’d done a previous open water swim there, and it literally took a couple of minutes. We used a bike pump to get a bit more puff in the tyres (yes, that is technical talk ;)) Yet another reason I was glad of support on the day. Something else I didn’t have to try and figure out/worry about how to do! We sat for a bit on the grass and Rod fiddled about with some stuff on the bike and my cycle helmet and stickered them both up for me (proving invaluable now, wasn’t he? :P) I continued clock watching, waiting for the minutes to pass until the time I’d decided to head to transition to rack the bike. This was one of the bits I was dreading most as I didn’t have a clue what the process would be like, but it was actually pretty simple, and the girl next to me was racking her bike too. She was also attempting her first triathlon which made me feel better, as even though I knew there’d be lots of other first timers there, it was good to know for sure. It didn’t take long at all to set my gear up ready, in fact I kept wondering what I’d forgotten as it seemed too simple! I rejoined Rod and started watching the clock again, waiting for the time I’d decided to get changed, and watched some of the other heats set off, while others were going through transition. I went to get ready which kicked the nerves up a gear, then watched another wave start… knowing the next wave was the wave before mine, and at that point I think I may have lost the ability to talk πŸ˜‰

When the wave before mine had started, I went through to transition, put my drink ready with my gear and joined the others in my wave ready for acclimatisation. At this point a guy that had done his race and was packing up said that the wind on the cycle was pretty harsh that day. I’d heard before that the wind can get you on the way out or back of the cycle lap, so asked him whether it was on the out or in. His answer was that unusually for Dorney, it was all the way round! I just smiled and thought that was pretty typical, but there was no option other than to battle that wind. At that point we were told we were allowed to get into the water. I’m not sure why, but we really didn’t get long and were hurried into the water with about 2 or 3 minutes to go until start. I refused to let that phase me though and went through acclimatisation as well as I could, making sure I’d had my face in the water plenty as the shock of the cold on my face was the main thing to avoid as that would have affected my breathing a lot. I tried to position myself fairly near the front and on the inside as I was pretty confident I’d not be at the back of the swim wave, but it was difficult to get where I wanted to and I settled for a position further back than I’d have liked (note for next time – get that position earlier!) We set off with a blast of the horn, and it was possibly the hardest swim start I’ve ever had as I just couldn’t get any space at all. People were in front of me and next to me and I just couldn’t get around them, and there was so much water being splashed about it was hard to even get a breath. In fact at least twice I got a breath full of water and choked, and once I even had to do a couple of strokes of breaststroke to try and sort myself out, but somehow after what felt like being in a washing machine for about 100m I started to get a bit of space. I struggled on until the turn, and finally at that point the wave had thinned out a bit and I began to get a bit of clear water. From there the swim got a bit easier and I managed to find my pace, but it wasn’t an easy swim. One thing I had expected was to start worrying about transition towards the end of the swim, but strangely I didn’t. I got out and started to undo my wetsuit and get my hat and goggles off and found my bike without too much trouble (one of my big worries) and managed everything I needed to get off and on and exited transition with the bike. I’d worried a bit about the cycle start, but there was a marshall there telling everyone exactly when to get on their bike (after a double white line) so I needn’t have worried as it all went smoothly enough. I clocked Rod with his camera quite quickly, stuck my tongue out at him and cycled past, wondering how easy I was going to find the cycle part!

Very quickly I realised the cycle wasn’t going to be anything like I’d imagined. My local area is pretty hilly so any training I’d done involved a fair bit of stop start, and a lot of gear changing. Within the first kilometre or so I’d already found gears I’d never used before, and ended up sticking to about 3 gears for the whole route. It was actually much more enjoyable than I’d expected, and there were a couple of good fast parts that made me realise why people find this thing fun πŸ˜‰ The second lap seemed easier than the first, probably as I knew what to expect and that I was almost done with the bike. Again I’d expected to stress about transition, but I didn’t… there was again a marshall there warning you to get off the bike before a double white line into transition. The only difficult part was making my legs work properly, which I’d expected! I racked the bike up (I’m sure it was heavier putting it up than when I got it down ;)) had a couple of mouthfulls of drink, jiggled my legs a bit in the hope they might work properly and set off for the run start. The bit I was dreading!!

Well somehow I was getting one foot in front of the other at some sort of jog pace, though my breathing left a lot to be desired! I knew I had to keep going, I wasn’t going to walk even one step of the run as that was the whole point. In January I couldn’t run. Now I had to achieve a 2.5k run after two other disciplines, and even though it was really tough, I just kept going. I saw a lady in front of me who was walking and even though I knew I wasn’t going very fast, I knew if I kept to a jog I could pass her… and I did! I couldn’t believe I’d actually managed to pass someone, but I did, and in fact I think I overtook about 3 people in the end! I felt my knee begin to twinge at about a kilometre, but I ignored it and carried on, just focusing on that halfway turn point. Just as I got to it the girl next to me at transistion called me and smiled. She had just gone round the turn so wasn’t far in front of me, and I was surprised about that! I went round the turn, telling myself I was half way there, and shortly after that was a course photographer who took my attention away from the run for a minute or two. Usually the return to the finish seems a bit easier as you know you’re almost there, but for some reason it was tough going. There was still no way I was walking, but it hurt! When it gets like this I usually find the best way to deal with it is to count to 4, over and over in my head as that gives me a rhythm and also means I cannot think about how much it hurts, how far I have to go or anything other than that count of 4, so that’s what I did for half a kilometre or so, until I could see the finish line. I checked my watch and realised if I didn’t slow down there was a chance I could finish in under an hour. That was a bit of a dream target for me… I wasn’t sure I could do it, and had tried to tell myself finish time didn’t matter as long as I completed it, but to get under that hour was the absolute best outcome for me. I pushed a bit harder and got through the finish and heard the timing chip bleep. I felt pretty good at that point, and got my medal (it’s all about the medal ;)) and looked around for Rod as I had no clue where he was! I got a bottle of water and decided to stay where I was as there was more chance of him finding me, which he did in a couple of minutes or so. I remember him asking if it was harder than I expected, and telling him it wasn’t. I knew the run would be tough, so that was no shocker, but overall I think it was possibly easier than the aquathons I’d done. I don’t know whether that was because the cycle leg between the swim and run made it easier, or whether my nutrition choices were better (I’d switched that a fair bit) but I didn’t feel sick on the run like I had on the aquathons. Maybe it was a combination of both. I also remember saying something to Rod along the lines of “as long as I didn’t show myself up” and he replied “that was incredible”, which is something I shall never forget. I just smiled at the time, but for him to say that was one hell of a compliment. This guy has cycled the Wiggle Tour of the Peak… 7 hours and 122 miles of hell up some of the toughest hills in the UK, so to get that response made me feel I’d achieved something πŸ™‚

My finish time did end up being under an hour at 58:52, so I’m really pleased with that. My swim split was 8:38, T1 3:00, cycle 29:12, T2 1:19 and the run 16:41, which was actually quicker than my usual treadmill pace, which was very surprising! I also finished 37 of 59, not too bad at all.

So what are my thoughts now? Well… lets just say my plan is to keep training and tackle a sprint triathlon next year. I have absolutely no idea how my terrible running skills will fare with a 5k run after 2 other disciplines, but I’ve managed a 2.5k when I could do nothing 9 months ago. And I think I’ve proven it is possible for absolutely ANYONE to go from couch potato to triathlete if I can do it!

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So today is the day…

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Well the day is finally here. In just a few hours time I’ll be attempting my first triathlon. It’s all I can think about. What I need to do when I get there, setting up transition, and how many things I could possibly do wrong. Including the possibility of falling over. Although I’ve known today was coming for months now I still can’t help but feel so unprepared. I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter how badly I complete this, as long as I complete it that’s all that matters, but in reality I’m just scared of looking an idiot!! I need to put that out of my head though. Even if I finish last and crawl across the finish line I’ve done more than I could have done 9 months ago. So can I go from couch potato to triathlete in 9 months?? Well… In 5 hours time I shall know…

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How much kit do I need?

Slowly but surely the pounds come off…

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I don’t often blog about weight loss (in fact, have I ever?) and tend to stick to the training stuff I’m doing. Probably because any weight loss now is pretty slow going. Indeed sometimes so slow I feel I’m getting nowhere, but in some ways that’s not a bad thing. I say this because it doesn’t really bother me to any great degree, and by that I mean the way I eat is a lifestyle choice. Sure it gets frustrating to not lose any weight for a while, but it doesn’t feel like I’m on a ‘diet’, so it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t lose weight every week. I think that’s the thing with ‘diets’. If you don’t see progress you give up, but for me now it’s not like that. Not saying I eat perfectly all the time. In actual fact last weekend was a really bad weekend in what I chose to eat (I blame socialising – ahhhh here come the excuses ;)) But it’s not hard to pull it back around again.

But this morning was one of those mornings that I stopped to actually assess things a little more. I put a pair of trousers on that are my favourite ones. I got them late last year and wore them though winter, but stopped wearing them around March time as they’d gotten a bit loose. Then the weather warmed up a bit and they’ve just remained in the drawer for a few months. I couldn’t throw them out a couple of months back when I was having a clear out, so they stayed there, thinking they’d probably be fine to wear now and again. So I thought I’d wear them today. Well it turns out I really can’t wear them… I can take them off without undoing them for a start! When I thought back I realised I’ve lost well over 1 1/2 stone since I bought them a year ago. Not bad when all I’m really doing is choosing better food options for the majority of the time! Total weight lost in the last 17 months now stands at 3st 11lb. Total lost since my biggest late 2008 – 5st 2lb.

And here’s a pic of the afore mentioned trousers πŸ˜‰

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Update and an 8k open water PB swim

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Well after blogging the other day, it was all written down that I was slacking off of running, so I had no choice other than to drag my butt out of the door and do something (that was the intention from blogging) so I hit the treadmill. I managed a 2k run, but it seemed ridiculously hard. Well I guess that teaches me a lesson for slacking off, but I also came to the conclusion that the bra I’d specifically bought for triathlon stuff was restricting my breathing. I’ve used it a few other times, including for the two aquathons, but hadn’t really noticed it then. I switched bra and hit the treadmill again next day (yesterday), and found it was nowhere near as restrictive (managed a 2.5k and although it was still tough, the breathing was easier) so I guess I’m switching bra plan for a start!

In other news, I also hit the lake for an open water swim last night. They don’t usually run a swim session on a Friday, but as the weather was good and the season is drawing to a close they laid on an extra session. It seemed too good an opportunity to pass up as it was going to be the last time I had a chance to attempt a long swim with the nights getting shorter now. I got there as close as I could to the start of the session and was wetsuited up ready to go just before 4:15pm. I kicked off and got my daughter to keep check of my laps/times and just did 3 laps straight without stopping. I usually check my watch at each lap, but didn’t until after 3 laps which is 2.4k. I’d managed that in almost an hour dead, which was pretty good going as although most laps are around 20 mins, I do tend to drop a minute or two the more I do. I was happy with that, and went for another 2 laps, before pausing at the start of lap 6 for an energy gel and a couple of mouthfuls of drink. I stopped for energy gels again at the start of laps 7 and 8 (20 mins per lap seemed to fit with what the packets said) but halfway round lap 8 I started to get uncomfortable and was concerned I may bring some back up, but got around the lap OK and decided to still get another energy gel for lap 9. I managed to get around the lap ok, but the feeling was getting worse (like a heartburn feeling and like I was going to bring the gel back up) so decided to not take any fuel at all on for the last lap. I was sure I could get around it without, just because it was my last lap, and I knew I couldn’t put anything else in my system. Sure enough the feeling got worse and the last lap was a real struggle. I had to stop probably half a dozen times or more as the pain was so bad and I brought stuff up a few times, but I still finished the lap and headed in for the shoreline. The last lap had seemed to take a long time, but according to the lap times it wasn’t any slower, and was similar to a lot of the others. I got out of the water as it was beginning to get dark, and it was drizzling with rain. Apparently it had been raining for about 40 minutes, but it had taken me about 15 minutes to notice, haha! It took me a while to get my balance back, but I’d managed what I’d wanted to. A full 10 laps. A massive 8k (4.97 mile) swim. The equivalent of 320 lengths of a standard pool, and it had taken me 3hrs 38mins. I’m pretty impressed with that, seeing as it’s my first open water season, and my longest swim up until about 3 or 4 months ago was 2-2.5k! Someone is a little less impressed with me though, and has sent me to the naughty corner for overtraining on my strongest discipline too close to my triathlon. My defence is that I’ve learnt things from last night (particularly the nutrition side as I need to deal with the sickness I’m getting – possibly upper GI distress?) but I don’t think my defence is a strong one!

Although I was pretty broken still this morning, mainly upper body tiredness, I still hit the treadmill, (on an empty stomach) and managed a 3k run. I managed to really get a grip of the breathing today, and it seemed somewhat easier than the last couple of days. Surprising really after what I did last night. My legs were pretty tired though (could have been worse, I did manage to fall UP some steps on the way to the gym this morning :P) I thought I ought to attempt some cycling too, but failed pretty dismally on the cross country setting as I was just tired. I ended up spinning with fairly low resistance, but it still wasn’t a bad effort. I think I might still be in the naughty corner for now though πŸ˜‰

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