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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Time for a catch up, friends!

Hi guys! So, another rather unremarkable week in the books! Luckily I wrapped it up in style – dinner with some of my absolute favourite people! My lovely friend and her man have just purchased their very first apartment, so me and the bessy went round for drinks and dinner! (We are now suitably jealous of their beautiful pad!) To make it even more fabulous we were greeted at the door by this face…

282607_10150723551575714_4036073_nBest surprise EVER!!

Madness ensued…

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photoDon’t ask…

photo 4After rolling home, later than I have in a long while… I somehow managed to drag myself up for swimming this morning and as always, it was awesome! Really cleared the wine induced cobwebs and left me feeling ready for the day! I got home just as Anna was getting up and so we decided to head out on a little run before breakfast.

This was my first run in almost two weeks! I hurt my foot after a particularly hard and fast treadmill workout and despite resting (like a good little triathlete in training!), icing and compressing, it doesn’t seem to want to heal. It just feels a little bruised and swollen on the top of my foot, near my toes… I know it’s because I spent too long (for me) running at a fast pace, up on my toes and my feet obviously aren’t quite strong enough just yet, maybe?! Anyway I have been pining to get out again so today seemed like the perfect day for a little jaunt! We just did an easy 4 miles and it only hurt a little if I landed funny… I genuinely don’t think it’s going to do any lasting damage so I’m going to try a slightly longer run tomorrow and see how it goes! Keep your fingers crossed for me please!

We just made it to The Step as it started hail stoning like crazy (!!) and settled in for some delicious breakfast! Lot’s of eggs, coffee, smoothies… possibly some cake to take away as well… ;)

And now, back to reality as I attempt to write an essay. By ‘attempt’ I mean look at the title, scratch my head a little and then… start to write this blog post! Ugh… best get back to it!

Hope you’ve all had an awesome weekend!?

Lots of love,

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My Before & After

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So it’s no secret just how much the swim part of ‘swim, bike, run’ absolutely terrifies… or terrified me! I have never felt so out of my comfort zone as I did those first few months of learning how to swim (properly) and whilst I still don’t exactly feel like a dolphin (just yet), I have learnt to truly love being in the water. When I first started, I used to love swimming just because I was pushing myself, pushing back on all those self imposed boundaries. Whereas the other day I caught myself wishing I was in the water, excited for my next swim session so I could enjoy the feeling of gliding (ok, ‘gliding’ might be a bit of a stretch but hey, this is my daydream! ;)) up and down the pool… I was missing just being in the water – breakthrough, right!?! (It does definitely help that I have a ridiculously awesome coach and masters swim group to train with!)

Anyway, a couple of weeks back I finished my block of swimming lessons *sad face* with the lovely people at Swim For Tri. Keeley, Maria & Dan – you are absolute diamonds! THANK YOU! We were filmed at the beginning and then again at the end and whilst I swore up and down that the video from that first week would never see the light of day, I have now decided to be brave and share them both with you guys, my before and after. I just want to prove that even when something seems so impossible, as swimming did to me. With a little (ok, a lot of) time, patience (definitely not my strong suit) and energy, things will get better. You will improve and likely it will happen almost without you realising, just one day it will be like BAMM! The trick is to not get disheartened when you feel like you have spent hour after hour slogging away at it, with nothing changing. Just keep going, keep pushing because I can almost guarantee that a breakthrough is right around the corner!

It’s just like Dory says…

Anyway, here goes… no laughing!!

We were filmed at the beginning…

When I first started these lessons, I was terrified of water going up my nose, just plain old terrified in general! I panicked every time my face was submerged without a nose clip, yes I know I’m a complete weirdo! Ha! I could also only really swim about 25m without my lungs wanting to burst, everything falling to sh** and the wild, panicked flailing giving away just how uncomfortable I really was in the water.

And then again at the end…

Whilst I still don’t class myself as a ‘swimmer’ and I know I still have a longggggg (longggggggggggggggg) way to go, I am really, really happy with the progress that I have made and if I just keep working on my drills… drills, drills, drills…. then I might just survive my half Ironman this year and then next year, who knows!

Lots of love,

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**The lessons were absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, worth every penny!! If I could afford to keep having my Thursday night lesson I would sign up in a heartbeat! Anyone in London that wants to start the 2014 tri season off right and feels like their swim form could do with a little tweaking, I would highly, highly recommend them!

*** Please note that I wasn’t sponsored for this post! I booked and paid for these lessons myself and all opinions are truly my own.

Best Foot Link Up

Bestfoot This Week Link Up

Hi everyone, you ready for another edition of ‘Best Foot’? Each week a group of bloggers get together (in the internet sense of the word) and celebrate the ways in which we kicked some serious arse and put our best feet forward the week before.

Big thanks, as always, to the lovely hosts – Krsyten, Amanda and Ericka

I had a pretty good week last week, it was a little light on the swimming but I felt like it was major breakthroughs for everything else! My heart rate has finally dropped by about 10 beats on workouts that are the same, if not a little harder in duration and intensity! Score! I feel like maybe all the hard work I have been putting in is paying off and it has definitely given me an extra little push of motivation to keep going. To keep striving for progress.

So let’s get to it!

Monday – I did a good solid 90 minute run today. I was supposed to do it on Sunday with Luke but he came down with a bit of a bug and wasn’t feeling up to it so I took that as my cue to play nurse for the day and enjoy the extra rest. Anyhoo the run ended up consisting of about 9 laps of a short loop, pretty close to home. Some might say I’m crazy subjecting myself to such repetitive torture but I honestly don’t mind it, it allows me to really figure out and push my pace, knowing that a certain part is fast or tough or whatever, it’s really easy to get into a groove.

Tuesday – 60 min swimming, great session as always! Don’t know what I’d do without this group or our wonderful coach! Learn something new each session!

Wednesday – Was a ‘two a day’

  1. Morning – Woke up super early before uni and got in a turbo interval session totalling 66 minutes.
  2. Afternoon – Short and sweet run with a friend before enjoying a lovely dinner and a few well earned glasses of vino. The run was 30 minutes with 10 x 1 min fast efforts. This one felt awesome, effortless even! Guess it’s nice to throw some short runs in every now and again to see how far you’ve come.

Thursday – Missed swimming today as I had some stuff to do before uni and knew I wouldn’t have the time – bummer. I did get in a good hour on the turbo though in the evening.

Friday – This was my day off and the weather was awesome so I decided to devote the day to training and got in a good solid 3 workouts!

  1. 60 minute run with 5 x 1km fast efforts (4:30m/km). I shared this workout here.
  2. 50 minute swim – kept this pretty easy, wasn’t as great as I’d hoped but just wanted to get in the pool really.
  3. Finally a turbo ‘Hills’ workout. All climbing based intervals, brilliant short and sweet workout! I shared it here.

Saturday – I was working today but I did get up early and get a good quality 2 hour session done on the turbo. I split it into 30 minute segments and built from easy to hard to hardest! This one felt great! Heart rate stayed low despite moving into the big gears whilst still keeping a pretty high cadence. If only all sessions could feel like this, hey! ;)

Sunday – Was not feeling motivated at all today but the weather was beautiful and I had a long run on the plan, so I sucked it up and headed out. Ended up having an awesome run! I made sure that there was a fair bit of incline and I focused on keeping my pace steady and not stopping at the top of hills, instead using the downhills as recovery. Again this one felt easy breezy but my pace was great (for me) and I negative split all the way home to just under 12 miles! Whoop!

This week marks the start of a new training block so let’s hope it goes as smoothly although something tells me I will be finding things a little tougher this time around! ;)

How did you put your best foot forward last week, I’d love to hear!

Lots of love,

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Swim, Bike & Run… Oh my!

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Sorry for the radio silence peeps, this week has just ran away with me! I did attempt to blog yesterday but something was up with my laptop / the site, and it wouldn’t allow me to click on dashboard to open a new post (hrmphh!!)! Anyway, today is an awesome day, much better for blogging! ;)

This might sound bad but I have been dragging my feet with classes big time recently! So waking up on a non-uni day is bloody marvellous! I literally wake up with a smile on my face! So I am taking advantage of the free day and I’m getting my swim, bike, run on! Or, run, swim and finally bike, to be exact! I woke up at 8 (what bliss!!) and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and then got ready for my first workout of the day, the run.

On the plan for today was a 60 minute run with 5 x 1km fast efforts (4:30m/km pace). After a brilliant, almost effortless run on Wednesday night I struggled a little today and my 5th 1km repeat I fudged entirely! I kept a 4:30 pace for 900m into a head wind and then died spectacularly on the last 100m… whats that about stamina?! *smacks forehead with palm of hand*

Anyway, in the end the run looked like this;

  1. 5:00 warm up – easy pace 5:30m/km
  2. 1km hard effort – 4:39m/km
  3. 2:00 mins recovery – I did 30 seconds walking / 1:30 easy pace run (5:30m/km ish).
  4. 1km hard effort – 4:32m/km
  5. 2:00 mins recovery – Same as above.
  6. 1km  hard effort – 4:33m/km
  7. 3:00 mins recovery – I did 1:30 walking then 1:30 easy pace run (5:30m/km ish).
  8. 1km hard effort – 5:02 <– This is the one where I kept a 4:30 pace for 900m and then slowed RIGHT down for the last bit… what an idiot!
  9. 3:00 mins recovery – Same as above.
  10. 1km hard effort – 4:30m/km 
  11. 10:00 mins recovery – easy pace, was closer to 6:00m/km here.

It fell a little short of my expectations ie what was on the plan but like I mentioned in a previous post, I have a tendency to slack on the faster efforts and either do them on the treadmill or just turn them into steady tempo runs, so I’m really glad I got this done! It has made me feel much more confident for the step up in training that will commence beginning of next week! (Eek!) Also my heart rate is definitely, definitely getting lower so I must be getting fitter, at last! Still lots and LOTS of room for improvement though!

Anyway, I came home and stretched a bit before inhaling some chocolate milk and making the perfect lunch;

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Yes, that’s bacon in there… loads of the stuff! :)

I am now going to jump in an ice bath for a bit, my legs felt a bit tired and draggy today so I’m thinking they need a little extra tlc! Then I will be taking myself off to the pool to get in the session that I missed on Thursday morning and FINALLY I have a turbo session tonight consisting of hills, glorious hills! I will sleep like a baby tonight, that’s for sure!

Hope you all have a fabulous exciting weekend planned?! I hear we’re about to have a heatwave here in London and considering I felt MASSIVELY overdressed on my run just now, I’m daring to dream that they might actually be right, for a change! Definitely need some sun on my bones!

Lots of love,

             BlogSignoff

Getting it done. Finally.

DreamsdontworkunlessyoudoSo, we just headed down to Finsbury Park track to complete an interval workout only to find the place CLOSED to the public! :( The lady in charge was lovely enough to let us use the loo but then we were booted out! All was not lost though as we just ended up completing the workout on the loop around the park. I wouldn’t call it hilly but it’s not pan flat and so keeping a 4:30m/km pace on the inclines was a little more work but still manageable! I focused on fast feet, smaller steps and increased cadence.

We did 5:00 minutes warmup at around 5:30m/km then;

  1. 1km at 4:30 ( + 2 mins recovery)
  2. 1km at 4:40 ( + 2 mins recovery)
  3. 1km at 4:31 ( + 2 mins recovery)
  4. 1km at 4:20 ( + 3 mins recovery)
  5. 1km at 4:22 ( + 3 mins recovery // cool down)

I had already programmed the workout into the garmin and stupidly missed the last 1km repeat, it was supposed to be 6 x 1km but we had already cooled down and were headed for the bus before we questioned why the workout was shorter than expected… duhh!  Felt pretty good though so definitely feel better knowing that I could have crushed the last 1km repeat! Nice to finish a workout in good shape for a change! Haha! (We also didn’t really need the extra minute recovery after the 3rd set but it was set up that way and so we took it, will alter for next time.)

This workout was actually one that I missed the first week (of this month) so it just kept getting rolled over, glad to have it done, finally! Feel like I have kind of skimped on the speed work / interval stuff so really need to work on getting it done, each week! It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just if I’m feeling tired or unmotivated I have a tendency to just head out and run, throwing a few changes of pace in rather than following the specific plan. Using a treadmill helps but I need to start making sure I get to the track for at least some of them.

Which part of your training plan do you struggle with, if any? 

Lots of love

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