Friday, 20 July 2012


Apologies for the lack of blogging!!  You may have thought I had fallen off the face of the earth, but no, I have just succumbed to my innate laziness which is the constant voice whispering in my ear.  If anyone happens to see my motivation - give it a shove back in this direction :)   

Sadly, my lack of blogging has been equalled by my lack of training over the past couple of weeksUnfortunately an old injury has reared its ugly head, curtailing my running, so obviously I have spent my time wallowing in the injustice of it all, rather than productively utilising my time and cross training. 

Here is an update of my (rather pathetic) training in the last couple of weeks:

After the incident with the scary bloke I talked about in my last post, I headed out the next day for a second attempt at my long run.  While I did manage the scheduled 15 miles it was not smooth sailing due to my poor ability to pace myself.  I ran the first six miles too fast (approximately 45 seconds per mile faster than planned) then ended up chatting to and running with another runner for a couple of miles at his pace (which was about 1 min 30sec per mile faster than planned).  I knew that I was running far too fast and that I would suffer for it later but my pride won out and I kept up with him until our routes took us in separate directions.  By this time, my heart rate was sky high and I was puffing and panting like a steam train... not good with 7 miles left to go!

I kept running as long as I could but ended up having to walk a couple of times.  I must have looked bad as a group of cyclists actually stopped to ask if I was alright!!  During the last few miles of this run I started to experience pain in the outside of my right knee.  My heart sank as I fully recognised this pain – the dreaded ITBS that had plagued me about 18 months ago had made a return.

I was given some great advice by Tom over at Running Physio.  He has a great blog with fantastic advice about running injuries and prevention, well worth a read.

He advised me to stretch three times a day, and begin some strengthening exercises after a couple of days once the acute pain had stopped.  I followed all his great advice and swam a few times and began running again after a few days, just taking it slowly in order to remain pain-free.  I was feeling great and had no knee pain so decided that I would do my scheduled 18 mile run the next weekend.  

What an idiot!!  Deep down, I knew this probably wasn’t the best idea as this ITB flare-up was most likely an over-use injury, but I ignored common sense and became a slave to my training plan.  Tom had advised avoiding hills for a while so I had managed to find a relatively flat section of road that was 2.5 miles long which I ran up and down for 18 miles (and yes, it was every bit as soul destroying as it sounds)!!

So, off I went early on Saturday morning.  Now, I had managed to run for an hour pain-free during the week, but after only three miles I felt the familiar twinge.  Being the stubborn mare that I am I decided that I would run through it, but slowed to a pace where it was tolerable.  After about 8 miles my knee stopped hurting – it had actually gone numb and only hurt at the turnaround points where I stopped and had to get started again.  I had a really rough patch between mile 15-16.  It was at this point my mum saw me running while she was stopped at some traffic lights.  She said she saw this girl running (hobbling) along and thought – wow, she looks in so much pain, why is she bothering, she should just give it up... then she realised it was me!!!  Now, I know I was struggling, but no one likes to think they actually look as bad on the outside as they are feeling on the inside! 

Unsurprisingly my knee was sore, so I decided not to run for a few days... this ended up with me doing absolutely no exercise at all for almost a week as lazyitis took over.  My motivation deserted me completely.  

It wasn’t until this morning that I decided I would try a gentle run (more out of guilt than any desire to actually get back to training).  I managed less than a mile before my knee started hurting.  I managed to run the mile home but the pain was increasing with each step (never a good sign).  I decided to try and walk round the block to see if there was anyway of preventing the pain whilst still doing a run-walk.  It was excruciating just walking.  I did try running again – slowing down, speeding up, short stride, long stride, landing mid-foot instead of fore-foot.  Nothing made a difference, in fact the pain got so bad I hobbled home in tears. 

I have probably not done myself any favours by trying to ignore and run through this injury.  It is just so frustrating.  I have had to pull out of a triathlon on Sunday and am really starting to panic as my first of three marathons is only 8 weeks away.  I have booked an appointment with a sports physio for early next week so hopefully they can get me back on track in time to complete the New Forest Marathon in September. 

It is so important not to be a slave to your training plan – yes, a plan is there to guide and prepare you to run a certain distance but it is not set in stone and should be constantly reviewed and adapted depending on circumstance.  This goes to show that a sensible and graded return to running is required after injury so as not to aggravate it further, requiring even more recovery time. 

So, enough of the wallowing and self pity and onwards with the cross training.  Just because I can’t run, does not mean I can’t exercise at all to keep my fitness up.  Swimming, stretching and strengthening are the order of the day until I see the physio.  I will seek their advice about cycling and using the elliptical.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Personal safety when running

I had a real scare on my run this morning and it made me realise how important personal safety is when running alone, particularly in isolated areas.  It was the first time I have ever been really scared - to say I feared for my life is slightly over-dramatic, but I certainly feared for my safety.    

As you may have noticed, I like to do my long runs early in the morning (usually starting around 5am), which leaves me the rest of the day free (to sit on the sofa and eat cake ha).  I have run in the early hours for the last couple of years and love the peace and tranquillity.  Often I don’t see a soul on my runs.  I have never been scared for my personal safety before today – in fact, it has rarely occurred to me that as a lone female running in quiet, isolated areas with no one around I am potentially vulnerable.      

I was running a 3 mile loop on a very quiet country road.  I love this loop because the views are amazing (when it’s not raining) and because the road doesn’t really lead anywhere it is nearly always deserted.  I was only about 2.5 miles into my 15 mile run when a car came speeding past me going much too fast.  About 20 seconds later the same car drove back past me in opposite direction really really slowly – the driver was just staring at me.  I started to feel a bit nervous and carried on running while avoiding making eye contact with him.  He had obviously turned around yet again as I could hear a car approaching from behind me once again... low and behold it was him!  I was really starting to panic by this point – my heart was racing and I just didn’t know what to do.  

Once again, a bit further up the road he turned around and drove a short way towards me then he just stopped the car in the middle of the road.  He just sat there staring at me with a huge (creepy) smile on his face.  I couldn’t think straight but had to make a split second decision about what to do.  I knew that there was a house just around the bend from where he had stopped his car (one of only two houses on this route).  Should I get closer to him and run past the car to the house, or should I turn around and run back the way I came.  The problem was, there was nowhere to go if I turned around and he could easily catch up with me.  So I took a big breath and sprinted past his car (without looking at him and trying not to look flustered).  I made it to the house and ran into the driveway...  thankfully there were three cars in the drive so I assumed there would be someone home.  I heard the sound of two car doors slam and thinking he had gotten out of the car I hid in the garden of the house but within reach of their door (in case I needed to bang on it for help).  Then, nothing... I crouched there holding my breath with my heart almost beating out of my chest for what felt like an eternity, but was probably only 5-10 seconds, then I heard the car drive away.  

I was shaking from head to toe and it took me ages to free my mobile phone from the pocket in my backpack.  I phone Arran (it was only 6am) and he told me to stay where I was and he would come and meet me.

So once again, it was Mr Westy to the rescue.  He threw on a coat and some trainers over his jammies and hopped on his bike and cycled to get me in the pouring rain.  He stayed on the phone to me the whole time as I was freaking out that the guy would come back.

I was so relieved when Arran got to me and we made our way home.  I was soaked from head to toe and freezing cold.  The adrenaline started to dissipate and I started to get annoyed... that some weirdo had ruined my run... priorities!!!         

I broke one of the cardinal rules – no one knew where I was running.  I hadn’t told Arran my route (I actually didn’t even know myself until I got out there), not only that he had no idea what time I left the house, how far I was running and when I should be back.   

I think sometimes it is easy to become complacent about your own safety when you are in a routine of running at the same time and on the same old routes, I know I am guilty of the whole ‘it’ll never happen to me’ mind set.    

Now, I am not suggesting for a second that we should all be running round with cans of mace in our pocket or a tazer strapped to our waist ‘just in case’, or that fear should prevent us from getting out there and running, but a few simple precautions could make all the difference:  

  • Tell someone your planned route and how long it will take you.  Set a plan so they know what action to take if you are not home on time and have not made contact
  • When running in the dark, stick to well-lit, well populated roads and paths
  • Try and train with a friend or in a group
  • Try and vary your route and the time you run
  • Take extra care when wearing headphones as they can restrict your awareness
  • Take a mobile phone and some money.  Try to keep valuables out of sight
  • Listen to your instincts - if something doesn't look or feel right, move yourself away as quickly as possible... preferably towards a public place

Taken from a great article by Run Britain here

Whilst on the topic of safety, I wanted to take this opportunity to mention how important it is to have emergency contact details on your person when running alone in case of an accident.  


A highly recommended method is to programme the telephone number for your emergency contact into your mobile phone under the name ICE – In Case of Emergency.  Paramedics and police are trained to look for this entry on your phone and it could save valuable time in an emergency situation by enabling the emergency services to get vital information about you if you are unable to speak through injury or illness.  

Medical ID Bracelet

This is another way to carry information about your emergency contact details, any medical conditions, allergies and drug treatments. 

I use the Cram Alert bracelet – you register your details online and can update them at any time and the wrist band contains a telephone number to a 24 hour call centre who can contact your next of kin and provide your medical information to the emergency services.  

Check out my amazing photography skills... it was supposed to be blurry... obviously!!

This was developed by Steve Cram after his brother was killed on a training run.  He wasn’t carrying any ID and his family could not informed for several days until he could be identified. 
There are many different medical ID bracelets and cards available, and many people save money my making their own. 

So, tomorrow heralds long run attempt #2... fingers crossed for a totally boring, completely uneventful run.  I have decided that I am not going to today’s route again and I will start my long runs slightly later from now on – just to ensure there are more people around.  I won’t let this experience to taint my view of running.  I love to run and by taking a few simple precautions I can continue to run safely and enjoyably.  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

My first tri

Crewkerne Super-Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Swim 250m         Bike 10.5k            Run 2.5k 

I completed my first triathlon on Sunday and lived to tell the tale!!  It was one of the most enjoyable races I have ever done and although it was tough in places, I loved every minute of it.  I have even signed up for another sprint distance tri in a couple of weeks.

My day started at 04:50 when I crawled out of bed (having barely slept due to nerves and nightmares about drowning, flat tyres and the cardinal sin of touching your bike before first putting your helmet on)!  I had my usual pre-training brekkie of porridge with honey and seeds, washed down with the obligatory two cups of coffee and a bottle of lucozade.     

I had packed everything I needed to take with me the night before so that I wouldn’t be running round like a headless chicken on the morning and even though the OCD compelled devil on my shoulder wanted to have me un-pack, check and re-pack my stuff at least 27000 times, I actually only did so once. 

We arrived at the race and I headed to registration where I received my race number, timing chip and got marked up.  Luckily, I had remembered this bit in advance and wore some old jogging bottoms.  I had originally started the morning in skinny jeans that are too tight to roll up and would have resulted in a slightly embarrassing strip show on my part in order to be marked up!!

We fetched all my stuff out of the car and headed down to the transition area.  A very kind marshall showed me where to rack my bike and once I had finally figured out how to hang it up I realised I didn’t have a clue what to do next, so I hung around trying to be nonchalant (but failed miserably and ended up looking like a stalker) watching what everyone else was doing from a distance.  Then I copied the ones who looked like they knew what they were doing.  I had brought a bright pink towel to lie on the floor next to my bike in the hope that it would make my bike easier to spot during the transition stage (and it worked)!  I laid out all my stuff on top of my towel in the order I thought I would need it. 

Me trying to workout how to attach my number to my number belt!

Then came the nerve wracking wait to be called through for the swim.  As a weak swimmer I was in the first wave of swimmers, setting off at 7am.  At 6:45 I pulled on my tri suit and made my way to the pool side.  

I have never squeezed myself into an outfit as tight as this before

I was given a bright yellow swim cap and advised I would be in lane 2.  This concerned me slightly as I was hoping to be on the outside where I would have the edge of the pool to grab hold of it need be (but it turns out I was worrying unnecessarily). 

The few minutes before the swim are a blur as I remember staring at the calm water trying to get my nerves under control (and not vomit into the pool and ruin it for everyone)!   
I set off as the third swimmer in my lane and surprised myself by quite quickly catching up with the swimmer in front of me.  I tapped her feet (as instructed) and was able to overtake her at the wall. 

Me in the middle of the pic... my swimming teacher will be proud of those high elbows!

The swim felt surprisingly comfortable and I finished quicker than anticipated.  10 lengths in 5.44mins.  The hardest part was hauling myself out of the deep end – I ended up flopping on to my stomach like a beached whale and flapping about on the floor until I finally hauled my legs out the pool... I never did master the whole ‘graceful’ thing!  

It was swimming cap off and out fire escape and down into transition.  Remarkably, considering I had not practiced my transitions – it went without a hitch and I put everything on in the right order.  I even managed to put my socks on over wet (slightly grassy) feet. 

Me in T1 (white helmet, middle of pic)

Heading out of T1 

I set off on the bike as fast as my little legs would pedal... which turned out not to be fast enough as I was almost immediately over taken by a rather large, older gentleman on a crappy, creaky mountain bike with knobbly tyres.  He was going so fast I couldn’t believe it – he only remained in view for about 10 seconds before disappearing into the beyond.  After than I spent most of the bike leg alone - with no one in front or behind me.  As anticipated, the bike leg was hilly and while I was really pleased to maintain a much faster average on the flat (14.8 mph – yep, that is fast for me), I slowed to a snail’s pace up every incline.  As a result, I had one of the slowest bike times of all the competitors.  There was one final beast of a hill which literally went on forever where I was overtaken for a second time.  I thought my legs were going to fall off (but thankfully they didn’t... or I may have really struggled on the run ha)!  
I finished the bike leg in 31.34 avg 12.8mph.        

Heading back to transition at the end of the bike leg

I came into transition breathing much more heavily than I would have liked and with much heavier legs.  When I got off the bike I nearly fell over and really struggled with the jelly legs as I pushed my bike back over to the rack.  T2 took just 30 seconds which I am quite proud of. 

Then it was out on the run, and I was back in my comfort zone.  I quickly overtook the lady who had passed me on the bike.  I felt like I was running soooo slowly – it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I could not make my legs turn over any faster so I just did what I could.  It turned out that despite how it felt I was still managing an 8.30mm so not too shabby!  Half the run course was off road which was great but unfortunately I didn’t have much steam left for the grand sprint finish I had hoped for.  
I managed 12.45 for the run.    

Still, I finished in 52.14 and was 54th out of 75 people.  I am chuffed to bits not to come last but more importantly I had an absolutely brilliant time and enjoyed every minute of it!  The atmosphere was very friendly and welcoming and the tri itself was superbly organised and catered well for beginners as well as those there to compete. 

I was so proud of myself that I wore my medal for hours until Arran forced me to take it off before we headed to the pub... I wonder how long is too long to wear your medal before it becomes weird...? ha!

More bike practice before the next one me thinks... must tri harder (awful joke)!! 

Friday, 29 June 2012

Foodie Friday

Wednesday Workout
  • Treadmill intervals:         1 mile Wu, 12 x 200m @ 7.30mm with 200m recovery, 1 mile Cd

Thursday Workout
  • Weight training:                00:45:00

Friday Workout
  • Long Run:                              15.3 miles            02:40:00
  • Swimming lesson:             01:00:00

Why oh why do I never learn!!  I optimistically believe the weather man time after time and am consistently let down.  Well no more J

I was promised dry and bright weather for my long run and woke up to drizzle which turned into torrential rain about half way through my long run. 

Let’s start from the beginning, I had to bump my long run forwards to today as I have my first triathlon on Sunday (very scary) and I am working tomorrow.  So my day began at 3.10am when I dragged myself out of bed to eat breakfast, down as much coffee as humanly possible, dose up on hayfever meds and use the toilet at least 57 times before starting my run at 5.15am.   

I was all set to leave and tried to turn my garmin on only to discover the battery was flat... no idea how this happened as I always put it on charge after every use.  So, I had to head out Garmin-less (shock horror)!!  Luckily I had planned out a route on Map My Run last night so I had a rough idea how far I needed to run.  I set off at a very conservative pace and just stuck to whatever felt comfortable at the time (which, without my trusty garmin to give me a kick up the backside, included practically crawling up every hill).

In my ‘brainwashed by the weatherman’ state last night, I had included a few miles of off road trails/fields just to mix things up.  Now as someone who hates anything that involves getting dirty/muddy I debated long and hard with myself whether to run the trails which would most likely be a mud bath, and finally decided that I would give it a go (although the internal debate kept me occupied for a couple of miles.  As I hit the first trail my speed decreased significantly as I proceeded to try and tiptoe round/jump over every muddy section for the next 2 miles.  I did have to stop to use the local facilities (pee in the bushes) and even managed to avoid peeing on my shoes... the girl’s got skills!!  As I had stopped, I decided to take a gel as I knew there were some tough hills in the last 5 miles and knew I would be grateful of the extra energy. 

The trail eventually came out in a field.  Now, it was not the field I was expecting and I had to stop and walk as the grass was above knee length and I was really worried I would twist my ankle.  I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to find my way out of the field... a task that one might imagine shouldn’t be that hard... turns out it’s harder than you think.  When I finally found my way out of said field I was soaked, my shoes were full of water and my legs were covered in mud – I even found a baby slug attached to one leg!  The final part of the trail was an incredibly steep mudslide hill down which I had to carefully side-step to avoid slipping (although maybe sliding down on my backside would have been easier)!  I finally emerged on to a tarmac path on which I vowed to stay.  By this time the rain was positively torrential, the only benefit being it was washing the mud off my legs.  My shorts were so saturated they became really heavy and kept falling down!            
I finally squelched and squished my way home feeling great - I was not overly tired and my legs felt strong. 

Today is my last workout before my first triathlon on Sunday... aarrgghh.  I’m completely unprepared but determined to enjoy it.  The nerves have set in already!

Now, on to the topic in hand - food (if your still awake)

This week I had my first ever Subway!  You heard right, until now I had never tried a Subway... shock horror ha!  I was always put off as every Subway I’ve ever walked past smells like sweaty armpits.  That all changed this week when I was so ravenous I put aside my revulsion at the smell (and breathed solely through my mouth) and ordered a turkey salad sub on wheat bread. 

Turkey Sub - slightly squished!

I was surprised at how cheap it was and impressed that Subway display estimated calories to help you make healthier decisions.  So, my verdict...

Meh... I was not overly impressed!  It was edible and filled a hole but I could have made a better, more tasty sandwich at home.  It may have just been my boring choice of filling, but based on this experience I think my foray into Subway cuisine will be a one off (unless I’m ever dying of hunger).   

 This week, in an attempt to eat more healthily, I purchased some new food items I hadn't tried before.  

I was really excited to try almond milk.  I have read a lot about it on other health-focused blogs I sometimes peruse and decided to give it a go.  I found this unsweetened almond milk. 

I was slightly worried that the flavour might be a bit over-powering (and because I have no idea how you ‘milk an almond’)!  It was not too bad on its own – it tastes sweeter than dairy milk with a slightly thicker, creamier texture and has a slightly nutty taste (talk about stating the obvious!).  However, when used to make my morning porridge and when mixed with my protein shake... delicious!  When I looked into it more, it is a great alternative to dairy if you can’t or don’t want to include dairy in your diet.  It is low in calories, carbohydrate and saturated fat however it has the same calorific value as skimmed milk and the fat content is also comparable.  However, dairy milk is much higher in protein.    

Will I buy it again, most definitely, although I won’t be cutting skimmed milk out of my diet either.

I also bought some almond butter (anyone noticing a nutty theme emerging).  I am not the biggest fan of peanut butter, but I eat it because it provides a good source of fuel.  As a result I have been on the lookout for a more palatable alternative.  Once again, I had heard good things about almond butter with regard to lower saturated fats and cholesterol and higher protein content.     

This is my new absolute favourite food!!!  I love it, it has a milder and slightly sweeter taste than peanut butter and is right up my street!  This will definitely be a regular on my shopping list (in fact I have already gone through the whole jar - I never did get the concept of moderation ha). 

I also bought a raw-food protein snack bar to try.  I often have a clif bar as the protein content is good but they are quite high in calories.  I am always on the lookout for a snack bar with at least 12g protein that is not too high in calories or fat.    

I am not a fan.  It wasn’t awful but it also didn’t really taste of anything and was really expensive.  Think I will stick with my Clif bars for now and keep searching for that perfect bar. 

Finally, I treated myself to some delicious Yoo Moo frozen yoghurt in my all time favourite flavour – blueberry with pumpkin seeds.   

What are your favorite new food finds?
Do you have any tips for healthy snacks?
Do you prefer running on road or trail?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Back in the saddle

Sunday Workout
  • Long Run             11.7 miles            02:00:00               10:19mm

Monday Workout
  • Cycling                  10.5 miles           52 mins                 12.5 mph
  • Swimming           66 laps                 50(ish) mins
  • Swimming           66 laps                 50(ish) mins

I’m going to be honest with you, I am feeling rather sheepish.  After my post about trying to sort out my nutrition and hydration I messed up big time!! 

Normally I do my long runs early in the morning and leave the house between 5-6am.  After a very late night on Saturday night, I slept in on Sunday then proceeded to mooch about the house, then mooch about in town, then mooch about some more at my parents house until finally I could procrastinate no longer and decided to head out for my run.  

It was gone 3pm and extremely hot and sunny by the time I donned my trainers and set out.  I set out to do 13 miles and although I took one pack of Clif Shot Bloks (just in case) I didn’t take any water with me.  Now, had I been running at my usual time when it was cool and drizzly – this would not have been a problem, but after just 1 mile my tongue already  felt like sandpaper and I knew I had made a booboo. 
However, being stubborn as I am, I decided to carry on but slow down and keep my pace super easy to compensate and went even slower again up the hills. 

I felt okay until mile 8 when I started to feel really hot and bothered and my easy pace was getting slower and slower.  I wanted to take a Shot Blok but without water to wash it down, I knew I wouldn’t be able to swallow it.  As I went on I started to feel dizzy and sick – I had completely overheated and was horribly dehydrated and positively crispy with salty sweat.

At mile 10 I admitted defeat and phoned Arran to rescue me!  He doesn’t drive, so did the next best thing and despite a raging hangover he cycled down as fast as his little legs would carry him to meet me with some much needed water! My hero!!

Hydration and contemplation

Hydrating with the one and only Nuun!

My hero's trusty steed!

After a 15 minute sit down, and a big long drink I was feeling much better but decided against finishing my run and took the shortest route home with Arran cycling along next to me – giving me some much needed encouragement.  I ended up doing 11.7 miles – I’m not going to beat myself up over it or dwell on it... it happens.  Now, on to the next run!!

It just goes to show that even tried and tested plans need to be reviewed and adapted to suit the conditions on the day. 

And, just cos I was feeling better by this point... some pointless running photos from my trip home...

I'm sexy and I know it... Aldi compression socks + cellulite - its a look that's gonna catch on!!

In other news, I got back in the saddle today, made the most of the glorious sunshine (cos it’s not going to last) and took myself off on a cycle ride.  I am soooo much happier with normal pedals and didn’t find it any more difficult and didn’t lose any speed making the switch.  (having said that, I am so slow, that it would be impossible to go any slower without going backwards).    

I also swam 1 mile!!!!!  I never thought I would be able to say that.  I was tired but so pumped when I’d finished. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

How not to train for a triathlon

With my first triathlon just round the corner (a fact I have been conveniently ignoring for the past few weeks) I am now starting to seriously panic!  I have had a major case of the CBAs (can’t be arsed) when it came to actually training for this event and as a result I am completely and utterly unprepared. 

In an attempt to make myself feel better I decided to check out the results from last year and... you guessed it there is every chance I am going to be last!  Given my current estimates for my swim and bike times I will be equal with the guy who finished last last year (just to bring it home with a bang, he was in the 70-79 year old age category... massive fail!!). 

I really don’t mind coming last (someone has to) and it is my first triathlon.  I just don’t want to last by such a long way that everyone else has packed up and gone home!  I am also well aware that if this happens it is entirely my fault (and there’s nothing I like better than someone else to blame).   

My swimming has been progressing nicely with my weekly swimming lessons and although I am still slow and my style leaves something to be desired, I am confident I will make it without drowning.  The running side of things is covered with my marathon training – the run leg is only 1.5 miles, so should be a walk in the park. 

And onto the bike... you may have noticed a distinct lack of bike training recorded in my posts for the last few weeks... that is because I haven’t done any... none at all.  In a previous post (here) I talked about how I had developed a fear of my bike as a result of being new to clipless pedals and falling off numerous times.  Well, I should have gotten ‘straight back on the horse’ but I didn’t and as a result my anxiety has increased ten-fold and even looking at my bike brings me out in a cold sweat and makes me want to hurl.  The most ridiculous thing is that I have no problem commuting to work on my mountain bike – because I’m not physically attached to it. 

Yesterday I decided I had ignored the problem long enough and it was time to admit defeat and go back to regular pedals until I get my confidence back.  I headed over to TriUK and they very kindly gave me some pedals for free.  I also got some elastic laces which I tried out this morning at the gym - one word... Genius! 
Pedals and elastic laces (in pink, obviously)

Me and my elastic laces... am a bit too excited about this... Nerd alert.
(Am slightly annoyed I paid £9 for them yesterday, then got a free pair in the post this morning... oh well)

Removing that fear of being clipped in was enough to get me excited about cycling again – I just have to wait for Arran to fit them on my bike, then away I go!  Although, it is far too late for anything I do in the next week to have any bearing on this triathlon, it means I can train properly for the next one in August. 

So, lessons learnt:

  • Do enter a triathlon, set up an achievable progressive training plan that fits in to your schedule and stick to it... consistency wins out
  • Don’t enter a triathlon then do no training whatsoever
  • Do get straight back on your bike if you fall off – practice makes perfect
  • Don’t repeatedly fall off your bike, develop an irrational fear of said bike, then refuse point blank to ride it for the 5 weeks preceding the triathlon
  • Do practice your transitions until it becomes routine – know how you want your stuff laid out and in      what order you will do things
  • Don’t ignore the concept of transitions and just hope it will be alright on the night by copying what everyone else is doing
  • Do include some brick sessions in your training so your body gets used to moving quickly from one discipline to another
  • Don’t fail to include brick sessions in your training to prepare your body for running on the inevitable ‘jelly legs’
  • Do at least some of your training on the type of terrain you will encounter on the day
  • Don’t enter a triathlon with a hilly bike leg (regardless of length) if you are not prepared to ride up even the slightest of inclines! 

Today's Workout

  • Easy(ish) Run     6 miles                 Avg pace - 9.18mm
  • Swimming          1000m
  • Weight Training 
This morning run was scheduled to be an easy run (approx 10mm) but I decided to run on feel without checking my Garmin (this ended up taking all my willpower) to see how well my perception of pace is developing and whether I am able to maintain fairly even mile splits. 

I know I slowed down up the hills but this was deliberate as rather than maintain a particular pace I wanted to maintain an easy breathing pattern.  When I got home I was pleasantly surprised, my average pace was faster than I thought it would be and my splits were fairly good (for me anyway) – 9:29, 9:12, 9:20, 9:31, 9:31, 8:47.  I deliberately ran the last mile faster as it is predominantly flat with lots of downhill (and because I can)!!  

I got to the pool later than planned so only got in 1000m before the public swimming session ended.  I managed 4 x 250m with a 1 minute rest between.  It was hard work today with lots of waves being generated by other swimmers - I guess that is good practice for me though.  

I headed straight to the gym for some weight training and although I completed each set maintaining my form, my head and heart just weren't in it today, it felt like I was just going through the motions.  It was the first time I have ever finished a workout and didn't feel better for it.  I actually felt that I should have just skipped it.  

Now to begin a 7 day stretch at work... 

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