Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Now, I believe

I know I've neglected this blog for a few weeks, I've tried a few times to write an update but never really got very far, not because I wasn't doing very well, but because I didn't want to get ahead of myself.

I've given myself a few weeks since I started my sessions with a new PT, the focus on triathlon training and eating plan so I could see some real results, and I'm pleased to say that I really have.

My sessions with Phil have been going really well, I'm now four weeks into a ten week course and am definitely seeing the benefit, I already feel much stronger and that my body shape is changing. Phil really pushes me quite hard in these sessions and I will be sad when they are over, I really feel that I have been listened to and the sessions have been adapted around my interests outside of the gym, so improving my running technique and speed, and building muscle to help build speed with cycling and swimming. Phil has quickly become known as "The Boss" over the last few weeks, and I seem to quickly become known as "The Moaner", I have since made a point not to moan during sessions, to the point where Phil asked me if I was actually ill!

A few things have happened since my last blog post:
  • My best friend @TheIron_Bear finished his first Ironman
  • I have committed to a 70.3 triathlon next year
  • My weight has dropped significantly
  • I can now swim properly - front crawl and everything
  • I'm now running faster than ever before!
So, next year I will be completing Outlaw 70.3. I had decided a few weeks ago that I was going to do it, but knew that I had a lot of work to do, but now there is a difference, I now believe that I can do it. Part of this reason could be that I'm getting more confident in the water, and on the bike (indicating is getting easier, bloody twitchy thing!) but it's mainly because I've just seen @TheIron_Bear complete his first Ironman in 12:15:49, he's written a great post about the race itself which you can read here. I won't go on too much about it, I've written a guest post for him that I guess he will get round to posting at some point. He went as he puts it from "Lardman to Ironman" so I see no reason why I can't do the same!

The pounds are coming off nicely and I have had some great twitter support over the last few weeks from @michybrightside and @rach_2_oh where we have been checking in daily on our diet and exercise, and giving each other the lift that we need to keep going. I have to say, I have found this invaluable on days where I've really wanted to over indulge and the girls have been great. We have also put together a relay team for a 70.3 next year, I will be taking the bike leg, and seeing as though @Rach_2_oh is a pretty amazing swimmer I think I will need to get used to the sound of TT bikes whizzing passed me during the ride!! 
It seems I'm disappearing a bit more, huzzah!

The last couple of weeks have also seen some improvements in my running speed. I told Phil last week that I seemed to be running consistantly at about 10:30 minute miles, he said he wanted to see me running at least 10 minute miles, I get the feeling he will keep challenging me like this over the weeks! Over the last few months I had been going to Regency Runners and going on the 3 mile run, never upping the distance. I knew that I had a 10k race coming up which meant I would have to run the longer distance last night, which is generally ran by the faster runners, which would again leave me at the back, not somewhere I'm keen on running. I had decided to just run to how I felt, I didn't even try to keep up as they run much faster than I can manage but I wanted to keep them in my sights on the 4.5mile route. 

To be fair, I always had someone in my sights and I tried as much as I could to get closer to them but couldn't quite do it. As I went through mile 3, I looked at my watch and saw I was running at a really good pace for me, in fact a PB for 5k, with 1.5miles still left to run I doubted that I could do it and I slowed a little, which allowed Jude to catch me up. At this point, I didn't mind if I ended up being last as I knew that I was doing well, and considered taking the foot off the gas and being pleased with what I had done, but I didn't and carried on, i remembered @TheIron_Bear telling me i needed to learn how to hurt myself so i kept on. I knew that the rest of the route was flat or down hill, I'd done the hills so I felt it was now time to prove to myself that this wasn't a fluke. I finished the run (with a lot of encouragement from the run leader, Mel) and stopped my watch, I couldn't quite believe what I had just done! To some of you real runners, you'll see this and ask what the big deal is, but to me, it's massive! When I was training for VLM my pace was between 12 and 13 minute miles, last night I ran a average of 10:08 minute miles over 4.44 miles, my time being 45:03, this is the fastest that I have EVER ran and 22 seconds a mile faster than my usual average speed over a shorter distance! I'm not ashamed to say that I cried a little at what I had just done, although they were happy tears!!

So, now I can swim without feeling the need to stop at the end of every length, and have my first open water swim next Thursday. I can ride my bike and now the weight is coming down the hills are getting easier and not quite as slow. I am getting stronger and my weight is heading in the right direction. I am running faster than I ever have done before. 

The difference in me now to 6 weeks ago? I believe in myself. I can do it.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Lozza Radcliffe

I seem to be a bit behind with my blog, no reason, just busy. So a quick catch up on what I got up to last weekend.

I only went and ran in the bloody Olympic stadium!

This probably isn't new news to lots of you, as there were over 12000 people running in the Anniversary Run and many of them have blogged about it. So here is the race from my point of view.

Running in this race meant a very early start, we had decided not to stay overnight in London but to drive down from Warwick and jump on the tube at West Ruislip. This meant we had to leave at 6am, so I was up at 5am. I'm not happy when I am up at 5am, Olympic Stadium or not!

I think we arrived in Stratford around 9am, ish. Actually I have no idea but when we got there it was busy and cold, thats about all I remember! After getting through security we headed to the Orbit where we had arranged to meet with everybody before me, Clair, Jo, Shazza and Anne headed to the start line:

Once there we waited for what seemed like forever before we were off, all 5 of us excited like schools girls, especially Jo, who after lumping and waving like a lunatic going over the start line got full attention and a wave from Chris Hoy. Nice work Jo!

The first mile was a little annoying, and was among the list as long as my arm on things that were annoying during the first 4.5miles, @jbeccx (who I met up with again, hooray!) has written a great blog on the day which mirrored everything that frustrated me about the race itself, so have a read of that and then no one is repeating themselves!

All was forgiven as the last 0.5 mile was the best 0.5 mile that I have ever run, not because I was running at an amazing speed or anything like that, but I was running with my best running mates in the Olympic Stadium! As we ran into the stadium underneath the stands Chariots of Fire was playing and also commentary from Mo Farah winning a Gold medal during last years games. I don't mind saying that this gave me goosebumps and might have (definitely did) bring a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat.

Running into the stadium was amazing and I couldn't believe how springy the track was and felt great to run on, the crowd was so loud and encouraging and I was fighting back tears as I reached 200m to go. I didn't want to rush it as I wanted it to last forever, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't give that final push and a cheeky sprint finish. As we ran round the bend a guy came out of nowhere milking it from the crowd and sprinting to the finish, as soon as we saw him I think we all took off to the finish. The thrill of crossing that line was something I can't ever explain, but doing it with those four girls made it even more special, and I think we spent a few minutes jumping around hugging each other!

Was this the best race ever? Yes, certainly was! 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Lane bully!

Last week I wrote about how I had stepped up my training to really kick start my weight loss again, and that I was planning ahead with my meals and training so I was more structured. Well, this week has been much of the same. Everything has been written down and then ticked off, nothing has been missed or substituted, I had planned in a cheat meal and a rest day (which was boring) so I was able to stick to my plan to the letter. I work much better like this, as strict as it may sound, I need structure. If I don't have it, I will gain weight, miss training sessions and eat crap. I'm not one of these that can eat when my body tells me, I'll just stuff my face until I'm sick then carry on eating (yes, I have a very bad relationship with food, but I'm working on that).

At the beginning of the week I went to meet with a different PT. I felt that I needed a real push leading up my next planned Triathlon in September, and I know that to get the results that I want I need to lose a good 14lbs minimum, more if possible, so I think one really intense session a week will keep me focused to do this, I struggle to do this on my own, I find continually training in the gym alone can be a bit flat and I can't get in the right head space, I just want someone to tell me what to do for an hour! We had a really interesting conversation and I was listened to about my goals, primarily weight loss but also overall fitness and performance. I came away from the meeting feeling so motivated to move forward and I'm really looking forward to starting my sessions next week.

So the week has included a few runs, and few gym sessions, a bike ride and a couple of swims. I won't bore you with ins and outs of each session, but the swim I think this week is really important! I reported last week that I had booked my first open water swim coaching session and that I needed to be able to swim 500m of front crawl before I go, well, I'm so nearly there! I went to the pool Thursday with the goal of swimming none stop for 150m, which was what I had written in my plan to get up to 500m. I started with a few warm up lengths of breast stroke which really didn't work for me, I'm axing this now, it clearly isn't the stroke for me! After a couple of lengths I stopped and adjusted my goggles then started my attempt at 150m of front crawl. This went way better than expected and at 200m I stopped, but only as my goggles were steaming up, I fixed this and off I went again, now realising I could easily swim 500m that night so I slowed it down and just relaxed and swam one length at a time, resting for 10 seconds or so after each length then carrying on until I reach 475m, one length to go. I'm so pleased this happened on my last length as I got straight out afterwards and felt a bit shaken, some nob head idiot swam over me which a) scared the shit out of me as I've no idea where he came from and b) disorientated me under water which for a non confident swimmer is a really bad thing. I couldn't have been swimming any closer to the rope if I had tried (I use it to help keep me straight!) so it's not like I was in anyones way! Once I surfaced I finished my length and got straight out, there seemed to be no apology coming my way from the "lane bully" so feeling very defeated I got out. I only realised when I was in the shower that bar 15m or so I had done it! 500m of front crawl! Some small breaks but until I was rudely disturbed I felt really comfortable, I'm ecstatic with this, I think I might have done a little dance in the shower when I realised what I had done!

So the results of this weeks focused and determined hard work? A loss of 7lbs, my biggest weekly loss to date. This has now put me back on the road for getting rid of all this weight, and setting myself up for a good winter ready for next years planned 70.3. It's also made a huge difference to how I usually feel around this time of year, I hate summer, my allergies can't cope with it and I've generally been too fat to cope with the heat, but today, in 33 degree heat, I was able to wear an actual pair of shorts and get the legs out, I've not done this for years! 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Its like I'm almost a professional!

I've been attending bootcamp now for around 6 weeks, and until yesterday I have really enjoyed every session. There was something that just wasn't right yesterday, and I really struggled throughout the whole session. The session had some really good drills that I enjoyed even though I felt that I had been working hard, but the plyometric element of the session nearly bought me to tears and I had a mini strop/meltdown during the drinks break. This is the first time I have doubted myself during bootcamp as it is so inclusive, so I had a little moan and tried to just get on with it for the rest of the session. This has just highlighted that I need to work on the plyometric element of training more, something that I have avoided for a while simply because I find it hard, you try jumping whilst trying to lift this weight with you! But I guess it won't get any easier if I keep avoiding it!

Other than that mini strop this week has been a great week of training. I have managed to get the motivation back, to get back into the gym for my weight sessions again, which resulted in the most incredible DOMS which only got worse as the week went on, to the point that when I went back to the gym Wednesday the legs were still pretty painful.

I kept the sessions this week pretty simple, mirroring what I posted last week but I know now it is time to make them harder and add some different stuff in to make a circuit, this is likely to be some form of plyometric exercise such as static long jumps, which I can do in the same space as my walking lunges, down "lunge alley"

I did also find some time to amuse myself at the gym, there is nothing more satisfying as a girl when you lift heavier than one of the guys in there. I was backwards and forwards to the latpull down and chest press from lunge alley, and seemed to be sharing the machines with a couple of lads working out together. I don't think they found it quite as amusing as I did that I knocked the weight up an extra 5kg on each set which was matching them kg for kg, I also think the poor things bit off more than they could chew as they were throwing themselves around to push the weight out, oh well, they'll learn!

Swimming this week has been successful; I have managed two sessions in the pool, and have got up to 100m front crawl with relaxed breathing. The new goggles have made a huge difference to my head position as I can see much more and they aren't steaming up as much. I have also now got a target for the swim, as I have booked onto an open water coaching session for beginners with Mary at @inspire2tri and for this I need to be able to swim 500m. The swim is on 22/8 so that’s seven weeks and counting. Due to this I have decided to add another swim into my weekly training schedule so I can concentrate on achieving my goal. I have set a target for the tri in September for my swim time and if I make it I think I may shock a few people, myself included! The trouble is, I don't wear a watch when I'm swimming so I can't analyse my sessions, @TheIron_Bear has again and again told me how important the numbers are when training and now I understand why (yes you were right AGAIN! I really should learn to listen more), so I guess I need to look for a watch I can wear in the water (and works in the water).

The bike has made a couple of trips out this week, once with a local ladies cycling group Regency Riders where I was able to test out for the first time the bikes (and my) climbing ability. I need to work on this, I'm still getting used to how twitchy the bike is compared to the hybrid so I find getting out of the saddle a little wobbly, so have been (quick break to cry uncontrollably as Andy Murray wins Wimbledon in straight sets) getting up the hills in the saddle while I get used to the bike, but I guess this will come, and I'm still relatively new to cycling so I know I just need to keep working on it, and it'll come with practice.

The second ride I did this morning. I was going to do a local Skyride that leaves from the park at the back of my house but it wasn't leaving until 10am and was set to be a four hour ride, with the heat today set to be hot hot hot, I thought better of it! I DO NOT like the heat! Instead I went out early with Tracey and Anne on a ride around Sherbourne and Charlecote and back home, which was around 20 miles, again there were a few hills to get up but we had a really nice ride. I have added padded shorts to my list of things to buy, as the last few miles of that ride really wasn't comfortable! 

So going forward I have written my training plan for the week ahead, as well as my eating plan. When I was losing weight quickly I did this every Sunday then found it easy to stick to, so I need to get into the habit of doing this again to keep focused as I have 12 weeks to Stratford Triathlon and I have put high expectations upon myself for preparation for the day and for the day itself. I didn't lose all this weight to throw it all in now, so I'm now a girl on a mission to make the next big change.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Hello Mr Tarmac

So yesterday I picked up the bike, along with the shoes so I would be clipped in from the off! I had decided to rack the bike to get it home as on a Saturday afternoon the traffic was really busy back into Warwick and being a novice with being clipped in I thought it best to try it out when the roads were a little quieter. I think the guys at @TheBikeYard would have preferred me to ride it home, if anything so they could laugh at me riding off and going straight on the floor as they had told me many times that I would fall off when getting used to the pedals.

So this morning came and I had planned to take the bike out for a few miles. I didn't want to go too far as I've not yet bought inner tubes and all that rubbish (I'm not quite sure what I would do with them if I did have them anyway) but I wanted to make sure that I could get home, and today was all about getting used to being clipped in.

The ride didn't get off to the best of starts as when I was trying to sort myself out I dropped my bike, I should have known then to just put it back in the house and go back to bed! So anyway off I went and after a couple of seconds fiddling about I managed to get myself clipped in. Riding this bike is pretty ace, compared to the old mountain bike and the hybrid its pretty fast and everything is so much smoother. It does feel twitchy but I guess that is something that I just need to get used to and as I develop my core strength I imagine it will settle down. I only managed to get half a mile down the road when it happened, coming up to a roundabout there were a few cars in front of me but plenty of room on the left hand side for me to go through. I went to stop to give way to cars coming from the right and having lost concentration for a second I went to put my foot down, sending me sideways and slamming into the tarmac!

I remembered what @The_IronBear had told me and didn't try to break my fall so held onto the handlebars, although I stuck my elbow out and gave it a bit of a smack. As I lay in a pile in the gutter it took me a couple of seconds to work out why the bike wouldn't move off me but of course I was still clipped into the bloody pedals! I got up and shook myself off, checked the bike and then realised there was a queue of traffic with all drivers staring at me (laughing no doubt), I tried to look as though I meant to do it but of course failed! I was mortified, so I was soon out of there and carried on with the rest of the ride, which luckily was pretty uneventful.

As it was a short ride I got back, had something to eat and took myself off to the gym. As I said in a previous post even though my diet is sorting itself out I am struggling with motivation for strength training so I thought I would just go and get it done before I had the chance to talk myself out of it. As it has been a while since I have got a proper session in I went back to basics with a quick but pretty tough workout, which you have probably seen me post about before:
  • 30 walking lunges
  • 15 lat pull down
  • 30 walking lunges
  • 15 chest press
This was repeated 4 times, with minimal rest (I'd say about 15 seconds as I need to keep walking from one area of the gym to the other). I started the weights at 35kg and gradually worked up, my last set of each being 45kg, something that I haven't lifted for some time but I was in the mood to get it done today! 

This was followed by a bit of core work, some bridges, single and double leg and then 3 60 second planks.  The walk down the stairs was interesting and I was close to having my second fall of the day, luckily I managed not to make an idiot of myself for the second time today! 

After fighting it for a couple of months, I know that it is the strength stuff that will continue to help me lose this weight, so I need to keep on with that and I now feel motivated to get it done, I think I just needed that one good session, as hard as it was, to confirm it. I really enjoy the strength training, and need to stop making excuses not to go, but instead find the time that I need to go AS WELL AS the swimming/cycling/running, there is plenty of time for two training sessions in one day if I need to and I guess I should get used to that now rather than struggling with it next year trying to get half iron ready! 

So tonight is all about the swim, my new goggles came yesterday, the Zoggs Predator Flex that I tried out when I swam with @TheIron_Bear a couple of weeks ago. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Bike wars

It has been done. The bike has finally been chosen.

I know in my last post (which was aaaagggeeeeessss ago!) I had chosen my bike, and had gone for the Giant Avail 3. However since then things unexpectedly changed. 

Saturday I went with Anne back to the Giant store in Rutland to try out a couple of road bikes. This is the first time that I had been on a road bike for about 20 years, so I was quite nervous about how I was going to get on. As it turned out, I had no need to worry, and I really enjoyed it. So when we got back to the shop I was ready to buy the bike, slight snag, they didn't have any, it seems Giant had not made enough bikes for 2013! I have to say I was not impressed, how Anne put up with my temper I'm not sure but I'm pleased she was there, as I was close to buying the Avail 1 at £1000, totally blowing my measly £700 budget until she stepped in and advised me to spend 30 minutes thinking about it. This had totally thrown me, as I had done a lot of research into the Giant and everybody I had asked for advice had suggested the Giant, including @TheIron_Bear and Mary at @Inspire2Tri, so I was at a loss of what to do.

Anne got on the phone to a bike shop local to us back in Leamington, The Bike Yard as we knew they were a Giant stockist and they suggested we go in for a fit, Anne had a heated conversation with them which to me sounded like:

Anne: I need an XS
TBY: You might not be that size
Anne: Yes I am
TBY: You might not be that size
Anne: Yes I am
TBY: But you may not be that size
Anne: But I've just ridden one
TBY: But you may not be that size
Repeat to fade........

So the decision was made to cut our losses with Giant and get back over to Leamington to have a look at what they have at The Bike Yard. This was a sensible suggestion so it obviously wasn't mine! I spent the journey back whining that I couldn't have what I wanted, Annes patience needs a huge prize!!!

The trip to The Bike Yard was a success, and they were so helpful, really setting our minds at rest that they would find a bike within our budgets that fit us well. Unlike Giant at Rutland, they didn't dismiss the mens bikes, giving us more options for what we needed. I went back Tuesday for my fitting, where I was politely told that I have short legs and a long body, and short arms, apparently my "knuckles don't drag on the floor" which is pleasing! I had a long chat with them about what I wanted and my plans for half and full ironman over the next couple of years, they knew what they were talking about so I went for the same principle of when I shop for running trainers, get fitted and have what they tell me to that is in my budget. We tried a couple of bikes, the first being the Giant Defy 1 which because of my short arms and legs was no good even after a lot of fiddling around! The next that we tried was the Lapierre Audacio 300, which again after some fiddling around with and a lot of getting on and off the bike it seemed to be the bike for me, I was secretly pleased as it matches my trainers! 

I had a chat with them about shoes and peddles, I was unsure as to whether it was a good idea to get them straight away, but I was advised just to get them on and go for it, being told that I will fall off, and it will be funny to everyone around me! So, I decided to go for it and to buy the bike, shoes and pedals, which I pick up Saturday!

Just a quick update

Just a quick update on how I've been getting on with my diet/training/motivation over the last few weeks. I know I've been relatively quiet lately but that’s more to do with being too busy to post stuff than not sticking to the plan.

A lot has happened so it's probably too much to catch up on in one post, so I won't bore you with all the details. My main achievement and what this blog is all about is that I have lost 4lbs over the last few weeks, which I am pleased about and I feel like things are getting back on track. I am training well in most areas, although struggling with strength work as my motivation to get to the gym is at an all-time low, as I have now given notice to leave, so now going there makes me angry and I can't focus on my workouts properly, so I have been doing some body weight stuff at home, plenty of lunges, squats and press ups to try and keep on top of it, but I know it's not enough, so I am addressing this. I am also going to the Exceed Fitness bootcamp once a week so I can get some sort of structured training, I'm no longer able to afford any PT sessions and realistically one a month isn't enough.

Other parts of my training are going well, for example my swimming is coming along really well. Last week I went swimming with @TheIron_Bear who hasn't seen me swim since he helped me get over that fear of putting my head in the water months ago. To be honest I was having a bad swim, this was not being helped by my goggles steaming up so he suggested we swapped to see how I got on, it made a massive difference, I could actually see and didn't feel that I needed to bring my head so far out of the water which in turn gave me more speed, @TheIron_Bear told me afterwards that I was quick, and that he would have had to work hard to lose me, the only trouble is I can't keep it up for long enough to be of any challenge.......yet! This has put me in good stead for my upcoming triathlon as if I can keep that speed up I will be out of the water in an amazing time. Also, I am hoping that it won't be long before I can make 500m which then means I can try out some open water swimming before the end of the season.

I have also been trying another tactic for speeding up when running. I went up to Rutland Water last week with @TheIron_Bear so he could do some open water swimming so took the opportunity to go for a 15 minute out and back from Whitwell toward Normanton along the Dambuster Triathlon route, this also gave me a chance to have a look at the open water set up so it wouldn't be so daunting when I actually pluck up the courage to go myself!

So off I went on my out and back, I tried out a run/walk strategy, 2mins run 30secs walk remembering the running technique stuff that I had been through with Mary a few weeks ago. It was a success, I ran further with this run/walk strategy than I had on a flat out and back the week before where I had run all the way. Don't get me wrong, it was hard work as when I was running I ran at an 8:30min/mile pace, which is very quick for me!! But, I was pleased with the distance that I covered in 29:17, 2.92miles.

About Me

My photo
I'm a fatty trying to get to be a thinny!