Giveaway // Review // MyProtein

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Hello you lovely lot! Sorry it’s been a little quiet over hear as of late, I had a nasty chest infection which put me out of action training wise AND I have also started a new job which involves shift work so I have been a little all over the place! Such is life! All good in the hood though and I will hopefully be getting back to normal (whatever that is) soon!

Right, to get to the main point of this post! The folks over at MyProtein were kind enough to get in touch and ask me if there was any particular products I would like to try out… errrm… YES PLEASE! After much deliberation I decided on these ENER:GELS. I have really struggled to find a gel I love, with most being too thick, sweet and gloopy for my liking. I have also been yet to find a gel that does for me, what simple dates with peanut butter do (they were a LIFESAVER at Tough Mudder! Although maybe I was just really, really in need! Fucking hills! Ha!). That being said, of course I was willing to give them a shot! ;)

First up, these gels aren’t small (whopping 70g sachets) so it might be an issue with storage, if you need a lot of them. However, I LOVE this for the added hydration and also for the fact that they are super easy to swallow, more like a sports drink than a gel. I cannot cope with those thick, overly sweet efforts! Yakk!

As well as containing those much needed carbohydrates, they’re also full of electrolytes AND B vitamins! I have waxed on in the past about how much I love B vitamins and rate them for giving me an instant mood and energy lift (my chlorella and spirulina tablets are a daily necessity)! So, do I love the idea of having that wonderful lift 2 thirds of the way into a mammoth ride or run? Hell yeah!! Where do I sign?!

I have tested these gels out on three different occasions, all three times on the bike (I’m yet to do a run long enough to need them, post foot injury) and I really like them, they definitely do the job!  I completed a 3 hour trainer ride a couple of days ago and with solid consistent pedalling (and nothing to take my mind off the tedium), I was surprised to note that I didn’t feel a drop off in energy, like I usually do. What I tend to do is alternate gels + water with energy drink, more for a bit of a change taste wise than anything and I’m still messing with nutrition to get it just right for me. The only niggle that I have with these gels are that the flavour is a tad strong for my taste, but then I’m not a fan of any gel or drink that is overly concentrated. (Luke has tried both the Blackcurrant and the Tropical and he really liked the taste so it’s probably just me being fussy!) Seriously, if water contained CHO I would be one happy little triathlete (in training)!

A MAJOR selling point for me, is the price. At £17.99 for 24 gels, that works out at a measly 74p per gel! I have previously paid double that amount for other gels with almost identical stats (MINUS the all important B vitamins) and when you’re shoving them down your neck at a fair rate of knots, price is probably something you’re keenly aware of!

SO the bit you’ve all been waiting for, I am willing to share my spoils! One lucky reader will win a bunch of these gels (in both blackcurrant and tropical)! To be in with a chance of winning, do the following;

 

1 // Follow me on facebook here

2 // Follow My Protein on facebook here

3 // Follow me on Instagram here

 

You get a separate entry for each follow, but make sure you leave me a separate comment for each one so that you get entered into the draw fairly!

Good luck!

Winner will be announced Monday 4th August!

 Lots of love

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5km OW Challenge // A Recap!

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(That is a smile of absolute relief, people! R.E.L.I.E.F)

Whew! Sorry this is mega late but WE DID IT!! We completed the 5km Financial Times Eton Swim and with some time to spare! ;)

It wasn’t pretty…

It wasn’t easy…

It wasn’t (always) fun…

But, we DID IT!

I mentioned before that I had serious doubts going into this and nervous doesn’t even cover it! If I hadn’t had young Victoria with me every step (stroke) of the way, the outcome may have been very different! But, let me start back at the beginning…

I woke up and ate my usual breakfast of porridge, peanut butter and honey and made a coffee to go. In hindsight the coffee probably wasn’t good for my nerves but I was looking for some (any!) endurance benefits and eh, might give it a miss next time and just take a caffeine gel half way through, or something. I made a bottle of my favourite SiS Go Electrolyte drink (in tropical) and made sure I finished it before starting the swim. I also ensured that I got in some proper carbo loading the night before…

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(As you can see my ‘eating like an athlete’ kick is going well! Ha!)

Anyhoo we arrived a little (fashionably) late due to a mammoth walk from where we had to park the car and so by the time we had registered, we literally had 5 mins to use the loo (I only got to go ONCE which really isn’t optimal for the size of my bladder / amount of nervousness I was experiencing! Haha!) and get into our wetsuits etc before the gun went off! Cue mad rush and panic and somehow we did it and queued up just as things got under way. Big thanks to Steve and Wilf (Vic’s hubby and dog, respectively!) for getting us there and to the start line in one piece! Also for dealing with the last minute frantic requests of ‘Agh I forgot so and so’ and ‘Can you hold this, please?’ and ‘Please can you put my inhaler on the feed station?’ etc etc, Steve you’re a bloody diamond! We were right at the back of the group and took our own sweet time in getting into the water… I am talking one leisurely entry! Ha! This is where things got interesting… we started by doing a bit of breast stroke, putting our faces in the water etc, the usual routine and lo and behold I started panicking and couldn’t get my breathing right. Now, to make this whole shameful process even worse, because we were right at the back, the photographer (damn you to hell, whoever you are!), got some hilarious pics of me having a panic! In the interest of keeping it real and also because I do love a good bit of comedy, I’ma share one…

Ready?

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I mean… I have no words! Hahaha! That is full on fear, right there! Look at Vic trying to talk me down, she was absolutely incredible and I really can’t thank her enough for that! It probably took us 10 mins or so and we got up to the first buoy before I got my act together.

Anyway, thankfully, the embarrassing bit is now over with and you will be glad to know, that we got going! Yayyy! The course looked like this…

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We did two loops of the yellow for 5km in total. We stuck to the inside buoys which was awesome because they were attached by a submerged rope which acted as a lane rope so we just got our heads down and started playing a game of catch up. We were making pretty good time but I had to stop a couple of times up that first straight and compose myself so we ended up leap frogging with a few other swimmers.

It’s funny because unless you’re a little fishy, swimming 5km is gonna mean you being in the water for a fair amount of time and you really do go through a roller coaster of emotions, especially if you are a nervous nellie, like me! I was terrified of losing Vic and getting left behind, to the point where I would panic when we would come up behind someone and I would have to leave her side to overtake them. Pathetic huh? I probably wasted more energy fretting about silly things like that than I did from just swimming! But then as you may or may not know, rational thoughts are easily pushed to one side when you are a million miles outside of your comfort zone! When I did start panicking, one particular thought / mantra, whatever, really kept me focused. I just said to myself ;

‘You can’t control anything around you, Hayley! You can only control yourself so you just need to focus on breathing, lowering your heart rate and perfecting your stroke’

…then before I knew it I’d be back in my rhythm again!

On that more positive note, there were periods where I just felt brilliant, easy breezy and yet super powerful! Pockets of time where my form felt the best it’s ever been! Rotation, reach, catch, pull, recovery… even my kick, all working together perfectly! There is something so cool about looking over your shoulder to breathe and catching sight of your wake and it just feels like you’re flying along! I love OW swimming for those moments, there really is nothing like it! (Where were you then, Mr Photographer?! Huh?!)

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We stopped at feed station 1 twice and feed station 2 once, there was no point stopping at feed station 2 for a second time as taking on anything else so close to home would have just been pointless and we really just wanted to get finished! The guys manning these stations were all lovely and the words of encouragement were much appreciated! As soon as we completed the first lap, I knew we had done it! That might sound a little cocky but it really isn’t meant to, for me it was just a case of, well if I can get around once then I can damn well get around twice! If you had asked me to do a third or fourth lap however…

For about the last 1.5km I had the beginnings of a calf cramp which I THANKFULLY somehow managed to keep at bay by just keeping my legs and kick totally relaxed every time I felt it twinge. I am hugely grateful that it didn’t progress into full-on cramp!

Getting out of the water and going up over the finish line was just fantastic! I must admit I was (and still am) rather proud of us for getting it done, and with big smiles on our faces too! The cut off time was 2 hrs 30 mins and we finished in 2 hrs and 3 mins which isn’t bad at all considering the 10 mins of faffing / water treading that we did at the beginning, also the fact that we didn’t rush through the feed stations either! A little chat here, a sampling of the buffet there… ha! We really wanted this swim to just be about finishing it and having fun whilst doing so, rather than getting any particular time however, I must admit, I do hope that we get to go back next time and see if we can finish a little faster! ;) Thank you Human Race for a brilliant event and my very first medal! Wooo!

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I hope you enjoyed the recap and I really hope that it has inspired you to give OW a go! It is challenging (see 2nd photo) but definitely doable and persevering with it is oh so worthwhile! Just remember that everyone has to start somewhere and there is no shame in giving things a go, being a beginner and taking things slowly / progressing at your own pace!

If anyone has any questions at all about getting into the sport, or if you have a triathlon coming up and haven’t yet tackled OW swimming, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email at oatcouture@hotmail.co.uk and I’ll do my best to steer you in the right direction! 

Lots of love,

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Best Foot Link Up – The Challenge Edition

In my previous post (I know, it’s been a whole week!) I mentioned my little freak out at Denham Lake. What I didn’t mention is that after my first ever open water swimming experience, the week before, in all my excitement I signed up for, wait for it…

A 5km swim. A week today.

The Financial Times Eton Swim

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Yep, you read that right.

One week from now, 5 whole kilometres of nuthin’ but me and lake… oh, and a few hundred other flailing, kicking, neoprene clad beings. Welp.

The course… I will be aiming to complete two laps of 2.5km (in the yellow). Hello feed stations, man am I glad you’re there! I might not really need much nutrition but you can be sure I will be using you both for a little breather! ;)

2014EtonSwimCourseMapx1055I must admit I am really glad that it’s two big loops rather than loads of small loops, this should (hopefully) mean that we can just get into a nice steady rhythm and stay there, for longer, without having to turn constantly.

I’m not expecting to be the fastest, by a long shot, but I was actually really looking forward to it, until last week. Last week has left me seriously doubting my ability to complete the damn thing. Now, if there’s on thing I hate and generally try to avoid, it’s doubting my ability to do things. So I really need to a) suck it up! and b) get in open water as much as is possible in the next week! I’m slightly hindered by my lack of transport, what with most of the lakes being outside of London but I figured that a little trip down to the Serpentine Lido would be the next best thing.. cold, murky and full of weeds. (It actually turned out to be not so cold which enabled me to get my heart rate down and get my breathing dialled in fairly quickly. Perhaps it was the cold at Denham that threw me off? A couple of other ladies mentioned having the same problem but them being seasoned pros, they didn’t have a full blown panic attack and have to get out of the lake. Oh the shame.)

So anyway, yesterday was just the perfect day, beautiful weather, nothing (much) on the agenda! So I decided to head down to Hyde Park for a little dip! If you’re not from London, just to fill you in, there is an area of the Serpentine lake cordoned off for swimmers. So essentially it’s open water swimming in that it’s in a lake rather than a purpose built pool BUT it’s only 100m by 20 or 30m or so.

Me, in action… really need to focus on looking back over my shoulder when I breathe and not up to the sky…

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It was glorious! Definitely would have been nice to swim without the wetsuit but I love mine for all reasons buoyancy related and also that I need to get used to swimming in it… baby steps, and all that! My garmin lost signal about 400m in but I did around 15 lengths (1500m), not a lot, considering what I need to achieve on the 26th but any positive experiences I can have in non pool water, will help me so I shall continue putting my ‘best foot’ forward all week in the hope of completing this mammoth (to me) challenge!

Bestfoot This Week Link Up

 

In other ‘best foot’ related news, heres a rough recap of my training last week;

 

Monday – Morning // Gym (strength + Afternoon // Swim 1500m main set with 500m warm up / cool down. (I was attempting to TT it but the fast lane was full of breast and backstrokers so it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked!

Tuesday – 1 hr Interval session on the bike.

Wednesday – I had an exam on this day but the weather was lovely so afterwards we headed to the lido and I tried the 1500m TT again along with a few hundred metres warm up / cool down. It went much more smoothly and I came in at 28:08. Not impressive at all on it’s own, but considering my first 1500m time trial came in at 39 something, that’s 11 minutes improvement!! I’ll take that ANY day!! :)

Thursday – 1hr 10 minutes interval session on the bike today!

Friday – Again, another KILLER interval session on the turbo, this was the result… (Both sessions are courtesy of this awesome book, which you all NEED if you’re training for a triathlon! So, so good – in a really painful way!)

Saturday – I attempted a really long / hard trainer ride but I ended up cutting it short after an hour or so and I will be attempting it again today. The two previous sessions took it out of me and after the first hour my heart rate was much higher than it should have been so I listened to my body and gave it the rest it obviously needed.

Sunday – Swim in the serpentine. Again about 1500m, including warm up / cool down.

Not a great week, came in at around 8 hours of training but I really feel that I made great strides with both my swimming and cycling so I’m pretty happy with how it went! Saw the physio on Friday and she thinks I can start running again in a couple of weeks, literally CANNOT WAIT!! Whoop!

((Thanks girls, as always, for hosting ‘Best Foot’ Krysten, Amanda and Ericka!))

 

So there you have it! My training week and my challenge! As long as I don’t drown, I’m sure it will be an awesome day! Ha! There’s a whole bunch of us going, all the guys I swim with and I think Luke is gonna come and act as cheering squad. Let’s do this!!

Is anyone out there signed up for the Eton swim? Or have another challenge coming up? Would love to hear from you, if so!

Lots of love,

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Back down to earth with a… splash!

My nemesis…

2014-05-10 11.47.48 2_resizedWell, after my post last week raving on about how awesome open water swimming was, I feel compelled to come back and tell you about todays less than stellar attempt! I had a major melt down people… major.

I just panicked! For no apparent reason! I struggled all the way to the first buoy, getting progressively worse! My breathing felt super shallow and all over the place and mentally I was just not having any of it. The water was pretty cold but I don’t think it was that, or maybe it was?! I hated that I could see weeds and ropes from the buoys, underneath me! Freaked me the hell out! Open water swimming is definitely a mental game and I must say for the first 30 minutes or so, it was a game that I was losing, hard! One of my swimming peeps, John… (Hi John!)

2014-05-10 11.47.29 1_resized…Cut the lap short and swam back with me to the jetty. I sat there for a bit feeling more and more ridiculous but also terrified at the thought of getting back into the lake as it just seemed so huge (way bigger than the lake last week although I’m sure that’s just in my head!) and I didn’t know if I would make it round. So I sat there a bit longer, knowing that I had to get back in otherwise a, it would have beaten me (absolutely NOT!) and b, I would have spent the next week building it up in my head and making it ten times worse! Luckily Vic’s hubby swam over after just finishing a lap (with the intention of getting out, sorry Steve!) and he agreed to swim up a bit with me and then back down (you’re not normally allowed to swim anti clockwise but the lake was emptying, so that was the plan!), anyway I got back in and all in all, I felt fine again! What an absolute numpty! It was fine, so we decided to do the smaller loop and I got back into my groove! Felt myself enjoying it again! SO annoyed with myself for wasting all that time when I could have been swimming! Also feel pretty bad for slowing John down so spectacularly! We had planned it all out… 3km, taking it in turns to pull, we had a rough time we wanted to do. All out of the window! Ha! Lesson learnt!

So now I’m sat back at home and just like last week, I reeeally wish I could go and get back in that damned lake, although this week it’s more because I want a do-over! Ugh! Anyway, I’m glad I finished on a good note and I can’t wait to go next time and (hopefully) have a brilliant swim!

Now, unfortunately, I have a day of revision ahead of me! Welp! Counting down the days till Summer!

Anyone else out there had a similar experience with open water swimming? If so, how did you overcome it? I know it’s all in my head so I really need to figure out what I can do to keep things in check, without actually having to get out of the water… hopefully it will all come with time (but not too much time, please!) and practice!

Lots of love,

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First open water swim of the season!

2014-05-03 10.57.27 1_resized_1Perfect day for it! I mean, how awesome does that lake look?

I know I’m supposed to be doing my coursework BUT I’m just so hyped up after what was my first ever (proper) swim in open water, that I had to come here and blog about it! Shout it out to the world!

I want to swim in a lake every. single. day!! It was THAT good!

My wetsuit arrived yesterday, after much deliberating and a few failed attempts at getting the Orca S5 from Malta, I opted for the Zone3 Advance and I must say, I’m really glad I did! When I first tried it on yesterday I was a bit worried that it was too tight but honestly, even if you feel like it’s constricting your chest, like mine did, it will be perfect when you get in the water! Remember, the tighter it is, the faster you go! ;) Mine is also bloody short (on both the legs and arms!) so if you’re a tall bird and you’re worried about it not being long enough, don’t be, I can tell you that it doesn’t really make any difference!

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See, perfect fit! Hahaha!

Anyway I knew that one of my swimming buddies, Vic, was heading to the lake with her hubby and so when my suit arrived I asked them if I could tag along and they very kindly agreed! I was more than a little nervous about the cold, I’m not too sure why though, cause things like that don’t normally bother me (hello weekly ice baths!). I then panicked a little more when we arrived and the ground was all frosty but then as soon as I dipped my toes into the lake we realised that it wasn’t that bad at all! Phew! What a stress about nothing!

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I had a bit of a panic when I first put my head in the water, not sure why, I did the same thing when diving as well, back in Cyprus… Possibly because I couldn’t see anything? Probably just a bit of a ‘Oh my god I’m out of my comfort zone here’? who knows! Vic was an absolute star and just treaded water / swam breast stroke (proper holiday breast stroke, none of that professional stuff! Haha!) with me for a minute or so whilst I got in a few slow exhales under the water and calmed down a bit and then, we were off! Well, I started by swimming about 20 metres in the wrong direction but WE WERE OFF! Haha! After that initial panic I started to really enjoy it! There’s just something so awesome about not having lane ropes or walls stopping you and forcing you to turn round, you can just get into your rhythm and SWIM. I feel so lucky to have ‘found’ swimming as it really has always been so far off my radar and just something that has generally scared me to death. I feel more than a little silly for wasting all these years but, it’s better late than never, right?!

I have never swam any kind of distance solidly without stopping and so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I got my head down and swam 1 lap (1km). I then noticed some guys stood on a little underwater pontoon thingy so I stopped for a little break to assess the situation, see how I felt and see if I could see anyone from our gang. I ended up chatting for 5 minutes or so and then as I couldn’t see anyone I thought right, I feel absolutely fine, I’m calm, let’s just try for another half a lap and see what my (rough) time is for 1,500. For some reason though the second lap seemed to whizz by and so I just thought sod it, I’ll do the whole thing! Timed it pretty well though as I swam right into Vic waiting for me at the finish! I tried to talk to her and tell her how much I loved it and realised I must have been cold cause I was a numb, dribbling mess! I’m sure it was a pretty sight! Haha!

After a quick cold shower it was tea and biscuits time and then we headed back home! Brilliant morning and home before 9am to enjoy breakfast!

2014-05-03 10.59.13 1_resized_1It was organised by the lovely folks who I did my lessons with (Swim For Tri) and as expected it was brilliantly put together and there was a safety boat keeping an eye on us all! Will definitely be going again!

A couple of wetsuit / open water tips from a first timer!

  1. Don’t be afraid to get the tighter than tight wetsuit, it will feel uncomfortable, especially if this is the first time you have tried one on! You might even feel a little panicky and restricted. The wetsuit will definitely give when you get in the water.
  2. Lube up!! Invest in some bodyglide and apply it liberally around the under arms, and neck. In a pinch vaseline will work but it will erode the wetsuit if used too often.
  3. Walk into the water slowly rather than bombing it in, unless you want to have a minor heart attack, that is!
  4. Let a little water into your suit and let it circulate, also splash some water on your face to get used to the cold.
  5. If you’re feeling a bit panicked, take a minute to practice exhaling slowly under the water. I am quite happy doing this normally but I think I just needed a little reminder / calming down.

Above all, enjoy it! I have met some awesome people through swimming and it really is a wonderful community! If you are less than confident in your swimming skills then I would recommend a few lessons to start you off (I mentioned these guys in the past! Swim For Tri They’re awesome!) and make sure you always have someone with you, either in the water or on land, keeping an eye on you!

Sorry for the slightly mammoth post! Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Lots of love,

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Grilled Cheese with a TWIST!

Hey, happy Monday, folks!!

It’s a sunny one over here and whilst I am trapped at my desk, I’m still feeling pretty darn good! Was inspired by a typical #OMGcheese moment over on the lovely Jenn’s (Peas & Crayons) Instagram… and so decided to throw together my own grilled cheese extravaganza!

I’m still sticking to the no meat thang and I must admit, it’s forcing me to get a bit more creative with my veggies, which is always a good thing!

Grilled Cheese with a TWIST!

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Ingredients

  • Organic Rapeseed Oil
  • Red Onion (I used 2 x small ones – chopped)
  • Garlic (2 x cloves – sliced)
  • Wild Garlic (small handful – chopped)
  • Asparagus (3 x Spears – sliced in half lengthways)
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli (Handful – about 6 or 7 stems)
  • Wholewheat Bagel (Sliced and toasted)
  • Smoked Cheese (small handful – grated)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)

Directions

  1. First I heated a pan and then added a little oil, and my sliced onions and sliced garlic, let this all sautee on a low heat for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Then I added my (washed and chopped) veggies, seasoned with salt and pepper and left to cook for another 10 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it though, the onions and garlic are easily burnt!
  3. A few minutes before they were finished cooking, I popped my bagel in the toaster, grated the cheese and turned the grill on.
  4. For the final step, add some cheese to your bagel, then the sauteed veggies, then layer on the remaining cheese and a little more cracked black pepper and pop it all under the grill!
  5. Leave for a few minutes until the cheese has melted into ooey gooey deliciousness and voilaa!

I might have left it under the grill a little longer but I was hungry and impatient… as always!

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A little update on the foot, for those that are interested! I am allowed to put weight on again it now (the pups are over the moon!) and so I did a slightly ramped up turbo session yesterday, however, I’m annoyed to report that it has swollen up again! Just a little bit but I am totally paranoid about re-fracturing it so I will dial things right back down for a couple more days. I have swimming in the morning to look forward to and it IS feeling a lot better, so not all is lost! ;)

Right, I will leave you with a little bit of ‘Monday Motivation’ in the form of the awesome Linsey Corbin

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I mean, really… badass or what?! I can only imagine the work she puts in… inspirational for sure!

Have a fabulous week peoples!!

Lots of love,

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Where do I start?

It’s been so long since I’ve been here that I’m not even sure where I should start but I think the most important / shitty / frustrating thing that has happened recently is this…

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Picking up a nasty little stress fracture in my 2nd metatarsal. Not the end of the world, at all, and it will be healed before I know it but damn if it isn’t frustrating!!

I mentioned in my last post that I hurt my foot, which I now know to be the stress fracture. I took a couple of weeks off from running (thankfully!) and then I caught a rotten cold which absolutely wiped me out for almost 2 weeks. So, that was a month of limited training and next to no running (possibly a blessing in disguise!). I then planned a trip home for easter that was to involve about 30 hours of training, (I had a schedule and everything! Yep I wish I was kidding! Haha!) to get myself back on track and get some valuable time in the saddle out on the open roads. But first, even though I was certain it was ok, just bruised, I wanted get my foot checked to be sure. Well… after explaining to the nurse what had happened, how much I was training and what for etc etc I was shipped off to the x-ray room, still absolutely convinced my foot was just bruised. The next thing I know the nurse calls me in and sticks my x-ray up pointing at what looked suspiciously like a hairline fracture. Damn. ‘Right, you have a stress fracture so we need to get you in a cast’ … I was like ‘erm… but I need to be able to swim at least?? Please could I have something removable?’ To which she responded sharply ‘Listen, you have a stress fracture, your triathlon idea is finished! Not happening!’ Well, at this point I burst into tears! She didn’t even ask when my race was, she made it sound like I would never bloody run again! (Whatever happened to proper bedside manner?! The big meanie! Ha!)

Anyway, after a pretty traumatic day, I attended the fracture clinic and thankfully saw a brilliant Dr who actually listened to me and completely understood where I was coming from and how even though I am fully committed to resting and recovering properly, there was just no way I was going to sit and rot for 6 weeks! He also said that he wasn’t even 100% sure I had a stress fracture (I have a feeling though that the quality of the monitors / scanned in x-ray made it harder to see, as on the original x-ray as I definitely saw it, even with my untrained eye) but, as there was no visible ossification, if I did have one, then it obviously hadn’t had a chance to heal so he erred on the side of caution and I am now armed with a removable boot and some crutches for at least 10 days before I can start to put a little weight on it.

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The awesome news is that I can swim and do some spinning on the bike! Whoop!

The whole thing has made me stop and think though and there are a few things that I will be doing differently to (hopefully) ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

1) Sleep. I already go to bed pretty early but when I am getting up at 5:00 or 6:00am most mornings then going to bed at 11:00pm only gives me 6 to 7 hours sleep (5 to 6 if you subtract however long it takes me to drift off!). This is just not enough time for sufficient recovery and it has been negatively affecting everything. In fact, I would definitely attribute some of the stress fracture to not getting enough sleep. Not to mention that I have been carrying around some wicked eye bags and seeing as I have never suffered with dark circles under my eyes I know I must not be getting enough shut eye. Anyway, I know this will make me pretty unpopular with a certain someone but I really need 8 hours (at least!) of sleep to ensure that I’m recovered and full of beans so I am aiming for more consistency by keeping my alarm set for 5:00am throughout the week, this will mean I can get the main bulk of my workouts done before uni / work and (here’s the kicker) I’m also aiming to be in bed by 8:45pm and asleep by 9:00pm. Will let you know how this one works out!

After an awesome swim this morning I even just enjoyed a lovely little 30 minute ‘nana nap’ which I almost never do… I woke up COVERED in dog hairs but it was worth it to be so snuggly!

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2) Nutrition. On the whole I eat really well, cooking all my meals from scratch using quality ingredients and wholeheartedly believing in being good 80% of the time with 20% left open to interpretation ;). However, I must admit, my diet can sometimes include a lot of treats and the problem with someone like me, (someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘moderation’), is that this can lead to a less than stellar diet with the balance tipping ever so slightly the wrong way. (I mean… what says you’re a few kilos too heavy more than a bloody stress fracture?! Ha!) So along with the planned slight reduction in energy expenditure this month (damn you foot!) I am re-focusing on food  and plan to really scale back on naughty treats (I’m not cutting them out completely because this approach just doesn’t work for me and let’s face it, life is just too short!). My goal is to eat like the athlete I would love to be, this might sound a bit silly as I know that I’m no pro but I do know that diet can make a huge difference in performance so in my eyes, I’m doing myself and all the training I’ve been doing, a massive disservice by eating badly. I am also going to attempt to go meat free. This is partially a wise budgetary move because I refuse to support absolutely abhorrent farming practices by buying non organic meat and at the moment organic just isn’t an option money wise, so it’s out. It’s also partially an ethical choice, which I’m not going to really go into too much detail on as I feel a little hypocritical in that I still plan on eating fish but, diet really is a personal thing and we just have to do what suits us best from both a health and ethical standpoint.

3) Strength and Conditioning. Oh boy has the strength side of things been neglected!! Me and my bro threw together a little weights circuit whilst I was home and it killed me!! KILLED ME! I used to (and still do!) love this stuff and I need to find a way of slotting it in, even if it’s just once a week. With regards to the conditioning, I do stretch but I could definitely stretch and foam roll more thoroughly. I have also just recently started seeing a sports therapist once a fortnight for sports massage and If I can keep making this work, budget wise, then I definitely will!

So, that’s where I’m up to! I really feel like the countdown is on now, with regards to my races, especially considering that I will be out of action for the next few weeks and also after the previous shoddy month. The 3rd of May will mark T minus 3 months till London, with Challenge Weymouth being just 6 weeks after that and I still have a LOT of work to do, (specifically building my run back up, probably from scratch!) so excited though!!

Promise I will try and keep the updates more regular! Definitely struggling to find the balance at the moment (as usual!) but I will get there in the end! ;)

Hope everyones training, racing and just life in general is going well!!

Lots of love,

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