Yeah I Did!

Drum roll please……

In fact forget the drum roll I want a great big massive Mexican wave spanning countries and countries, flags waving, children clapping, streams of coloured paper in the air – get it done!

Basically I just completed my FIRST EVER open water swim. 

Now you can understand the celebrations!

It’s just under 7 weeks to the Edinburgh Half Ironman and I knew I needed to get past this mile stone so headed down to the nearest organised open water swimming (safety first after all, can’t just go jumping in the local river!).

Time was tight and we didn’t get there until after the session had started but that didn’t really matter. I wasn’t convinced I would be able to force myself to properly swim anyway so was going with the intention of maybe getting about 50m along the front – possibly.  

We changed in to our wet suits and headed down where we saw Brian on his bike.  Stopped for a little chat and as Joe went to put his swim cap on….it broke.  He headed back to see if he could locate a spare.  Standing at the side of the Loch trying desperately not to look like I didn’t belong there I waded very slowly in.  Very slowly.  I waited for the water to start dribbling in and surprisingly it wasn’t as cold as expected.  I looked back at the shore and Joe still wasn’t back.  People were going off in dribs and drabs, it was very relaxed.  I was not.  

Right come on and you going do this?  No. Seriously? Man up! No, I will just wait for Joe.  Why? Isn’t that what I’m meant to do? What, you think he’s going to swim with you? You’re not fast enough.  Right fine!!! 

And I was off! I was actually off! Put my face in the water and went for it!!

I very quickly took my face out the water.

Oh My God I can’t see a thing!! Gasp gasp gasp!! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.  

But…. I’m still going.  Yes, I am still swimming.  Head for the huge yellow thing, it’s right there.  Deep breathe – intake of Loch water, choking, spluttering, BUT still swimming!

Round the yellow marker and on to the next one.  Still going.  Still can’t see a damn thing in the murky water, still not thinking about that, or what might be in here with me, including the massive pike the registration form ‘joked’ about.  Still swimming.

I get back to the shore and pause my watch (if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count after all).  Holy crap I’ve just swam in that Loch! I was ecstatic! It might have been beyond slow – although I didn’t really get over taken – but it was a swim.  Joe was back and had located another swim cap so we headed back in so he could do his first loop and I could do another.  I waited for him to go first before going again.  

A lot less gasping this time but still struggled to put my face in the water however, still got round.  Again.  This time my hand brushed some weeds but I was surprisingly calm.  Didn’t panic at all.  It was weeds.  I am telling myself it was weeds.  Nothing else.

I managed one more loop before time was up.  On the last loop I got grabbed a few times and had to handle a crowded turning but I was fine.  I did it.

Back at the van and I was straight on the phone to Ben who has given me a few swimming sessions.  ‘I didn’t die!!!’ Was my message.  ‘Woo! Gold star for you’ was the reply ha ha.

So it’s done! Milestone achieved, level unlocked, nappy changed!  Can’t wait to go back and do it again.  I’m genuinely shocked at how much it didn’t kill me.  Don’t get me wrong it was far from perfect and it was only about 1000yards but it wasn’t as slow as it felt.  I was only a few seconds off my standard swim time.  That was a shocker.

So.  More swimming to get more used to it (but I didn’t die!).  Marathon this weekend.  Then focusing on the final weeks of training. 

I’m still excited about this:)

As Easy As Riding A Bike

What a stupid saying!  I fell off twice on my last cycle!

I’m going to be honest.  The cycling part of this Half Ironman is beginning to scare me.  Reality is slowly hitting me across the face as it dawns on me that there are 2 different types of cyclist – those who are out for a leisurely cycle, and those who race.

Naturally, I fall in to the ‘leisurely cycle’ category.

Not ideal when you are racing.

I’ve looked at average times for my age completing a race like this and it has it down as 3hrs 30mins for the cycle.  That breaks down to roughly 15mph average.  I can manage almost 19mph on a 30 mile turbo ride but a recent trip to Pitlochry and back (also 30 miles there, 30 back) was more 13mph.  That’s quite a bit to make up.  

And it’s also only about half the distance I need to do…….

With no half hour stop for lunch either.

Pit stop in Pitlochry – was a good cycle with Joe

Pitlochry was Saturday and on my lunch run today (Monday) I could feel it in my legs – just above the knee on both legs.  My other half had challenged me to run sub 8min miles today, even set my watch to keep my pace so it would go off if I was too slow.

I knew I wouldn’t do it and turned off the pacer before even starting.

First 2 miles were under 8 mins to be fair.   I just knew I wouldn’t be able to climb the hill at that speed though, and I don’t like running less than 5 miles.  Maybe that’s what I should concentrate on though – faster but shorter distances just for a little while.  

I’m seeing some good progress with my swimming though.  It’s all been pool based so far as it’s too cold for open water but that’s going to be coming really soon. I’m choosing to believe open water will be easier and I will enjoy it more (I’m a huge fan of positive mind set).  I can not let it scare me.  I will allow myself one – and only one – freak out, then it’s head down, get on with business! 

On the upmost positive point though – I am dealing very well with panics when swimming.  No longer do I choke and gag in the most unsightly manner when I don’t have my breathing right and proceed to give an Oscar worthy performance of my dying moments.  Ok, slight lie, I do still choke from time to time but I can successfully recover from this and THAT is huge.  Because let’s face it, that is most definitely going to happen on the day.  I’m going to get kicked, elbowed, pushed around, water is constantly going to be where I need to breathe so if I can  calm myself down – I’ve already won.

So.  Running is still there.  It’s taken a knock but I have a few races coming up that will keep me at it.  Swimming is good.  No room to slack and time to get in the ‘real pool’ but it’s good.  And cycling? Well…… just got to keep at it.  Ignore the average time as, at the end of the day, I’m not ‘average’.  I’m a first timer at this.  I will do what I do on the day.

I am my only competition.

Training Update

Almost 3 weeks in and time to recap how the training is going.

Starts with S and ends with It.

No only kidding.  It’s ‘going’ shall we say.     I’ve discovered I need to do a hell of a lot more on the bike than I thought.  The cycling is putting additional pressure on my rotated pelvis so getting comfortable is hard.  Oh how much do I want to just reach in there and ‘rotate’ it back.  (Don’t worry, I know that’s impossible).


Luckily I have found a really good physio to get it realigned Ina regular basis and although it can be uncomfortable the sessions aren’t torture and he has a good sense of humour so I can have a laugh when I am there.  

I also have no idea what people are on about when they use their favourite buzz words such as ‘watts’ and ‘rpm’ and ‘cadence’ when it comes to cycling.  I’m still very much in the frame of mind of sit on the seat and peddle. I guess I need to do more research.


Swimming is definitely improving.  Slowly but surely I am breaking that barrier.  Still have occasions I am convinced there is a shark in the pool right beside me about to kill me and yes, I have freaked out when something’s touched my foot when I am the ONLY one in the lane only to realise later it was my other bloody foot but hey, I’m still swimming.  (Took a good few weeks to realise I was kicking my other foot but surely I’m not the only one to have little freak outs like this?).  More focused drills seem to be helping my speed instead of going Dory style and just keep swimming.

That leaves my running.  Now I truly love my running.  It’s my release, my ‘head’ time, my listen to music that no one listened to when it was released time.  

But.

Back at the Road Runners after not going for club runs for a couple of weeks and I got a very hard, sharp wake up call.  I’ve never been ‘fast’ – yes I can run and I’m happy with my pb’s to date – but I will never be first over the line.  And that’s not because I have more chance of getting lost (which coincidentally is true), I just run because I simply enjoy it.  I didn’t however enjoy finding out I have lost some speed.  The cycling seems to be having more of an affect on me than I gave enough thought to.  I couldn’t keep up on my first run and ended up doing the last 2 miles solo.  It was embarrassing.  I was really down about it. Perseverance is key though and although I was last again the following week on the hill run it was slightly better. Just need to keep at it and stop ignoring the fact I need to do speed work.  GOD I hate speed work! What is the point of running when you can’t bloody breathe?! What is the point of pushing your body so you hurt the next day?! Collapsing at the end picturing your grave site?!

Oh yeah, because you need to do it.

Races have cut off times.  If I pull myself through the water and drag myself round the bike course you’re damn sure I’m putting everything I have in to MY run.   No it won’t be a time that will impress everyone but it will be my time on a Half Ironman course! 

Not going to stop moaning about speed work though.  Ha ha.  Kind of also got to remember in doing a marathon before the Half Ironman too!

Trying to Find Dory – Again

Apologies for the lame swimming reference but I’m about as good at that as I am at the activity itself right now.


At the beginning of this week the other half and I found ourselves childless for an entire night.  I was having to go into work during my week off and to make it easier for my long suffering mother we decided they would stay the night at the grandparents.  To take advantage I booked the cinema so we could have some ‘just us’ time.  

Then Joe phoned asking what time it started.  I thought he was just checking what time he would have to be back for but alas no.  ‘Right we are going swimming first’ I was told.  I haven’t been in a good 6 weeks and I was in no rush to get back there however that’s why I was ‘told’ we were going.  I would much have preferred a run, even a cycle.  I almost tried the ‘but my hair, I can’t go to the cinema with it a mess after the pool’ but that wasn’t even worth the breath.  So swimming it was.

I dug out my costume I had come to detest and pulled it on.  To my surprise it was looser than before.  I haven’t lost any weight but it definitely wasn’t clinging.  I then noticed dimples at the tops of my legs.  With a grin I realised I was getting leaner!  Result! The grin was quickly wiped from my face however when I looked down at my feet.  I definitely have runners feet.  No longer do I have black toe nails, I just have no toe nails.  Another thing that I can’t cover up when swimming.

In the pool and the plan was sets of 100m.   Something I could do fine before but man how quickly I discovered I had lost an awful lot of stamina in the last 6 weeks.  I was knackered.  And slow.  Real slow.  Nope, I was not enjoying this one bit.  I genuinely had a face like thunder and I was getting more and more annoyed the worse it seemed I was getting.  Didn’t help either that Joe was clearly loving the fact he was a fair bit faster than me now and his stamina has gone up.  A little bit.  Thoughts of dunking him under or grabbing his ankles may have gone through my mind.  I won’t lie.  Especially when I realised his competitive edge was coming out and he was trying to see how many more lengths than me he could do.  

I’ve swam 2500metres in one go.

I’ve completed 2 triathlons.

I’ve ran a marathon.  

All in the last 8 months.

I’m not competitive (but if I was I would say ‘I win’).

For a good 10 minutes neither of us were prepared to be the one to quit first.  It quickly fell in to more and more lengths as neither of us were going to wait for the other at the end of the pool.  Eventually though we had to as after all we had booked tickets to go and see a very nice looking man beat up some people in a very unrealistic way.  

Pleased with himself hes faster. ‘Whatever’. Ha ha

The next morning I woke to an email reminding me I had agreed to a local triathlon and asking what my predicted swim time would be.

Oh.  Holy.  Crap.

I will now be swimming a minimum of 4 times a week in a desperate attempt to not embarrass myself at this event!  

Is it possible to half your 200m time in 2 weeks?  

God I hope so!

Swimathon – done!

My last post about running 16miles was accompanied by a rather miserable photo so thought it was about time to post something a bit cheerier! I’m still proud (and impressed with myself) for posting the photo and admitting how hard it was but more on that later.

Swimming has never been my thing for 2 reasons – I never really learned and I’ve always been too body conscious to ‘expose’ myself in a swim costume.  Somehow, I’m now living in Lycra and feel the most comfortable in it! Although not swimming but the bridge has been built and I’m over it.

So I signed up for the local Swimathon to make sure I kept my swimming up as I will be doing more triathlons this year.  I opted for the 2.5km, not quite courageous enough to do 5km but 1km didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough.  2.5km did! I managed the distance a couple of times before the event so naturally my mind switched to getting a better time.  I did start to suffer stomach cramps the few swims before it though which had me worried a little.

On the day I felt good, and my partner and youngest came with me.  Had hoped my parents would too but they thought it was 50miles away in Glasgow and not the local pool.  There were 4 of us in the lane – 2 older woman, a young lad and myself. One of the women insisted on introducing herself and I could tell this was ‘her challenge to herself’.  I loved her the minute I met her.  We were all asked if we had someone with us to count our laps but my youngest is 2 so he’s not going to sit in one place for an hour never mind 2 minutes.  I had my Garmin though and ignored the fact everyone else had an entourage of cheerleaders. 

We set of 10secs apart and I’d read there was to be no overtaking so when I caught up with the woman in front of me I expected her to wait at the end.  She didn’t.  So I thought maybe the other end.  Nope.  This went on for a few lengths until the young lad clearly had enough and went past both of us.  If he was then I was so I went past her also.  To my surprise though she grabbed my leg for half the length! I didn’t stop at the end thinking I could pull away from her but no, grabbed my leg again.  This time I did stop and let her past.  Then she slowed down!  This routine went on for good few hundred metres until I ended up kicking her in the chest – her fault not mine but oh my word I’ve never felt so bad in my life! I stopped and let her go a really good distance before continuing, I couldn’t do that again.

Other than that it was quite uneventful – the women who had introduced herself was the slowest out the 4 of us and had lots of breaks at the pool end.  Always had an encouraging word as we went past and when I said ‘keep going you’re doing good’ her reply was ‘oh I’ll finish my dear don’t you worry!’.  Fabulous determination. 

I don’t think I will do another swim challenge, it’s not really for me.  Helped keep my training on track but it’s certainly not a passion.  1 is enough and I’m happy with just 1 swim medal.

  

Training Update

It’s been a bit up and down recently – literally.  I can now swim 2.5km so I’m comfortable knowing I can complete the Swimathon.  I’ve been working on the breathing and relaxing and have had a good few sessions following that.  Still haven’t managed to get to Masters yet though and it’s not looking like I will soon either. 

The route I run at lunch time is getting beyond boring.  I seem to be slowing down on it as well?! I’m going to start using a map finder thing to try and pick out new routes.  Tried a new one yesterday which was a nice change.  Lots of climbs and a bad ass one at the end.  The cold got to my throat though and now I’m ill.  Even had to come home early from work and I’m off today because of it.    Feels like a house is just crushing my body.  The dizziness is a pest.  Drinking lots of water though to wash it out.

  
I’ve noticed I’m not as flexible as I used to be and when I saw the podiatrist he remarked how tight my legs were.  So I’m going to force myself to do a lot more stretching.  I was shocked I couldn’t touch my toes when we were doing the cool down at my running club – I’ve always been able to do things like that.  Looks like I’ve set myself another goal!

 

So obviously rest day today, and quite possibly tomorrow to get rid of this bug.  Next weekend I have a 10k race which I’m looking forward to.  Got to stay positive šŸ™‚ 

Weekly update – back on trackĀ 

Feels like I’m back on my training plan now.  The little doesn’t get his cast off for another week but I’ve managed back to work and to set out a good plan.  Wasn’t easy mind you – the husband and I had, how shall I put it, a ‘great debate’ over the schedule.  He thinks I’m doing too much and I don’t need to do it all and I don’t want to ease up on any of it.  After a tantrum or two (yes from both of us) I finally agreed to sit at the table and re-write it – pencil firmly in my hand so he couldn’t physically score any of it off!  We have come to an agreement, and I am slowly beginning to accept that it may very occasionally be OK to miss a session.  The difficulty I have is that the exercise replaced the depression after having my youngest and I’m scared I fall back in to it. For now though, it’s agreed.  And I doubt I’m the only one who has these issues! 

So on the swimming front it’s going ok.  Been back in the pool a couple of times and got the lengths in.  Next step is buying a swim aid so I can practise strokes etc to become stronger.  I went early one morning and met the best group of people.  It’s mainly the retired that go at that time but my word are they welcoming and funny! Tried to get me in to trouble with the receptionist but she clearly knew their games!  

 I’ve pulled my hamstring ever so slightly so running isn’t at its best but I’m still getting out there.  Really looking forward to a long run soon though – there’s no better feeling than that! 

Now that I have my weights at home I’ve been focusing on squats and deadlifts to build my legs in strength (not size! Body buildings not my cup of tea!).  That’s how I’ve pulled my muscle though – too many too soon.  I was sensible and had my form checked at the gym though and my daughter videos me from time to time to keep me in check.  

Getting Stronger
 So what’s happening this weekend? I’m going to LONDON BABY!!!! Super excited about this as longed to go for ages now.  Looking forward to early morning runs round Hyde park and other iconic places – can see the photos now!! There’s also a gym at the hotel so I’m completely sorted! 

Can’t wait!