Progress

cycle to rudgwick

3lb off this week; 13.5lb total; 13.5lb in 2018

I’m nearly there…the first stone.  Pete said I could claim it now but it didn’t feel quite right so I’m working hard to make sure the next weigh in smashes the threshold.

After a couple of weeks of weight gain, .5lb here, a 1lb there I was beginning to lose faith.  This is the joy of trying to lose weight when you’re a woman.  Random fluctuations that don’t bare a resemblance to what you’ve eaten in the week.  But, this was always going to be a long haul and it’s heading in the right direction so overall I’m happy.

Even more progress is being made in the exercise department.  Things never get easier – you just get faster – that’s the rule but the running is getting more consistent and I am taking time off over the parkrun Molevalley course…

parkrun molevalley

Seeing progress is so motivating and although I’m not at a stage where I can make Pete sweat yet – it is all feeling stronger.

So much so, we’ve taken the step to enter a half marathon at the end of September.  The Barns Green half is ‘undulating’.  Challenging enough to train for, local and friendly enough to make it worth the trip.

It’s already working as G and I have already started logging the miles and most importantly attaining the holy grail of running… consistency.  I managed to get 3.5 miles in this evening with only a few walk breaks and will be focusing on increasing mileage and reducing walk breaks in the next few weeks.

I’ll keep you updated on how we get on.

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The Aesthetic Olympics

45kg

5lb on this week; 11.5lb total; 11.5lb in 2018

Earlier today, I found myself trapped in an office with the sun beating down on my head through the glass oculus in the ceiling and staring through a window that doesn’t open (apparently some dufus lost the key a few years ago).

As I fought to overcome the desperate need to lay my head on the desk and go to sleep, it occurred to me that the weather I was looking at outside was probably the norm for Ironman Lanzarote.  I wondered where my senses had gone (apparently some dufus lost the key years ago).

Even the THOUGHT of going out for a run at that moment hurt my head  – never mind the actual run and I have a Half Ironman in less than two weeks.  It’s fair to say the training for that vent has been par for the course ie sub optimal, but at least I’ve been working on a few bits, including my strength training, which even if I say so myself, has been going very well indeed.

On Friday at my weekly PT session, Pete instructed me to pick up (boom tish) from where we left off the week prior.  So I did a warm up Clean and Jerk, which he admired but then told me we’d been doing ‘Snatch’.  Which sounds like an unfortunate euphamism for… well, I’m sure you’re there too… you don’t need me to spell it out.

Anyway, we hadn’t.

We’d been doing Clean and Jerk (and that’s the last time I mention it Pete!)  It was true that we’d had a conversation about Snatch, I remembered the conversation clearly.   Really.  Ask me to remember what I had for breakfast… nope. Or what I’ve done the day before at work… nada… but when it comes to exercise or all of the words to the entire ‘Black Lace’ music catalogue, then I never forget!

This is partly because I think about it so much (not the Black Lace – that’s just a curse), the weight lifting.  I repeat the integral parts of the lift in my head over and over.  I think about it continually and when I’m not thinking about it I’m watching it on You Tube to pick up coaching tips and feed the addiction.

It occurs to me very often that when the Gods of sport pointed me in the direction of triathlon, I was actually stood in the wrong queue.  I definitely picked the wrong sport. To be fair – I do it with running too.  I was once complemented on my very in depth description of the Thunder Run route (after four times round in 24 hours it’ll be etched in my memory forever).  One of my favourite ways of getting to sleep is running (sorry) through my favourite races in my head.  There, it’s effortless as I’m seven stone lighter and the hills are mere figments of my imagination.  I always win 🙂

Anyway, when we did get to the Snatch, all of the virtual ‘training’ paid off as I actually managed to nail a few.  Pete even said I they were technical enough to be on the stage. Clearly we were ignoring the fact the lift was only 17kg including the bar!

In a similar vein, I went swimming with Stuart and Nic last week to pick up some swimming tips from Nic who is a dab hand at actually making progress in the water.  I on the other hand, get in and wave my arms about sufficiently enough to attract young people in kayaks with ‘safety’ written on their backs and pretty much go nowhere.  I took G with me for moral support and while Nic had feedback for both the boys all she could say to me was that it ‘looks beautiful’.  Now, this could have just been female solidarity but it was not, it’s not the first time I’ve heard that, or the second for that matter.

In this aesthetic age when they eventually launch the ‘pretty but ineffectual’ Olympics, I’m a shoo in.

It turns out the secret to improving at both weightlifting and swimming… is to do it more of it. It doesn’t need a university grant to study at the University of the bleeding obvious to work that one out.  But even so, just to make sure, I’ve been testing the theory.

On Saturday we headed back to Molevalley parkrun to see if I could improve on the lame 43.15 I managed two weeks ago in the scorching heat. That week, we’d opted out of double spin using the defence of a 20 hour van journey back from Austria the day before. This week there was no such bye and the day before we’d headed to a hot spin studio for two hours of cycling followed by a bottle of the Co-ops finest white wine (for less than £7).

The sun came out from behind the clouds right on cue for the run and instead of being cooler as promised, the heat felt worse.  The course was dusty as the clay top soil had baked hard and was being crushed into fine particles by a couple of hundred runners stomping their way around the Bacchus field.  By the time we reached the bottom of the climb the dust and resolve had settled and rather than opt for the hand on hip stagger up the hill, I went for the far more optimistic run/walk option.

This course is hilly and the ascents account for around two thirds of the course distance. But I ploughed on and felt slightly less dead than I did two weeks prior eventually knocking two minutes off my time for the route.

The first instinct after crossing the finish line was still to go and lie down under a tree but I didn’t feel quite so ill as last time so maybe, if I start training now, there may be some hope.

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Hot stuff

Nicky spinning

2.5lb off this week; 12lb total; 12lb in 2018

After working so hard over the last couple of weeks not to eat while on holiday, the official result was in… 2.5lb off.  Pete had the decency to confess that he expected me to put weight on!  Going on previous experience, I don’t blame him!

I was really happy with the result – enough to do a little happy dance at the scales anyhow.

The rest of the week was focused on getting back into the rhythm of training – which is proving challenging in the ongoing heat.  We took to the spin bike this week rather than risk sunburn and heat stroke.  It was brutal but we picked some good tunes and smiled through it as best we could.

Eventually, by Thursday we’d had enough of the indoor life and headed to Worthing for some fresh air.

worthing

It was stunning and such a relief to be outdoors on a school night.  It also presented another opportunity…

This week I read ‘7 Keto tips for Women’ on Mark Sissons website ‘Marks Daily Apple’.  A lot of the article resonated.  With so much contradictory advice – even within the realms of Keto/Paleo/High Fat-Low Carb – it’s difficult sometimes to know if you’re on the right track.  Anything that details clear guidelines is welcome.

I really struggle to eat enough healthy fat and a good way of doing that is eating more oily fish.  In Worthing, we chose an exclusively seafood restaurant.  The menu seemed to focus on shellfish but I was saved from the green salad by a smoked mackerel dish on the specials menu.  It was delicious and went home happy and a lot cooler than we had been for much of the week.

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An interlude for a wedding

rings

No weigh in this week; 9.5lb total; 9.5lb in 2018

I’ve had a couple of weeks off to get married and go on honeymoon.  It feels a bit weird to write that down, the whole thing still feels a bit surreal.  In a good way, a really good way.  I’ve been lucky enough to find the kindest, most gentle and supportive man who shares my passions in life.  To finally be in a position to cement the relationship in front of our closest friends meant everything to me.

We celebrated our honeymoon with a road trip through Germany to Austria where G had an entry for Ironman Austria.  Sadly, he failed to finish although he nailed the swim before withdrawing after getting lost 70 miles into the bike leg.  This is now my favourite photo of him ever:

G's swim

While we were away, I managed to get a couple of runs in.  A couple of days before the main event the pirate ladies decided to join in the TriGirl run – a subsidiary event of the Ironman.  TriGirl is a 4.2K run around the park in Klagenfurt near the lake.  The previously pleasant clement weather had given in to the hotter, more humid conditions threatening to break through.  Although we took it easy (and had a great time) it was bloody hot out there!

trigirl

After a fabulous couple of weeks away we are now back home and looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Ironman Lanzarote is still at the forefront of my mind.  To even get to the start line I need to lose a minimum of four stone and 25 minutes off my Ironman swim time.  It’s the only way I’ll have a fighting chance of making the cut offs.

I made a promise to Pete before the wedding that I would stick to the paleo lifestyle and for the most part we did.  We came back home to a minimal weigh gain which has now gone and have kick started training in ernest.

In four weeks time we have the Cotswold Classic.  A relatively flat middle distance event which will provide a good indicator of where I am right now.  In between then and now, will just be a focus on losing weight, building strength and focusing on base endurance in the relevant triathlon sports.  I have a long way to go but I’m feeling really positive about it.

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The art of not giving a f**k

Badger Half marathon 2017 Events to Live #running 
#racephoto #sussexsportphotography 10:33:09

2.5lb loss; 9.5lb total; 9.5lb in 2018

When I was a kid, nearly ever Saturday was spent at my Paternal Grandparents house.  Their home was the Gardeners Cottage of an old estate house in Wingate, County Durham.  It came with a little bit of land to the rear and woodland to the front, in which the remains of the old estate house skulked.  We never found out what happened to the house, but it provided an interesting place to play and explore.  Close to the old house, my grandfather had commandeered an old brick outbuilding and turned it into a goat shed in which he kept a couple of nanny goats and a billy.  It meant a good supply of goats milk, much of which my grandmother would turn into cheese and other stuffs not distinguishable to a young child.

My Grandmother loved to feed people.   The electricity supply to the house was sporadic – Grandma would often bake in the middle of the night to ensure there was enough power to maintain the oven at a hot enough temperature – and most of the cooking was done on the coal fire, over two very black metal rings that could be swivelled over the fire once the coals had warmed up to glowing red embers.  For our lunch, grandma would often cook what was to hand.  A recurring favourite was sliced tomatoes, fried over the fire in a little frying pan and served between two slices of buttered bread.  The accompanying drink was a caffe latte with camp coffee and the aforementioned goats milk, heated and then cooled sufficiently for a small person to drink.

It’s unfortunate that I like neither goats milk or tomatoes.  While wholesome and produced with care, the whole thing quite frankly was rank.   I suspect, that eating it was where I developed a taste for endurance events.  I’m not kidding!  This was the 80’s, where the biggest crime you could commit in the country was to leave food on your plate.  And that meal of tomatoes and goats milk coffee took a long time to go down.

A solution was to be found and after much searching, presented itself in the local butchers shop, Robinsons Butchers in Wingate.  Where, on route to drop us off at Grandma’s on a Saturday morning, my mother would send us in for four ounces of cooked ham for our lunch and the excuse to my Grandmother that kids are expensive to feed and therefore the burden should not be hers.  I suspect that Grandma was slightly hurt but then she could satisfy the ‘feeder’ in her by giving us cake instead.  A much happier circumstance indeed.  My brother recently asked if I had grandmothers recipe for ‘munch’, a kind of flapjack but crispier, so I know he still looks fondly on the cake days too!

Anyway, we colloquially asked for the ham in quarters.  Four ounces, a quarter of a pound, hence the request.  It laid the ground for a good paleo foundation – even in those days – and was a significant improvement on the alternative.

Nearly forty years later and earlier last week I had been to see Peter and was heading for a decadent breakfast of toast (gasp!!)  I was not to see him again for nearly a month and I figured I could get away with one infringement of THE RULES right?  But, just before I left, I made a solemn promise to Peter to BE GOOD, in the knowledge that right there  I had just burst the possibility of toast for breakfast.  It exploded like a balloon popped with scissors.

As headed up to the café at the top of the village for coffee, I considered alternative breakfasts.  Since it’s almost impossible to be paleo and eat in a café, that would no longer provide a solution for breakfast.  But, we did have a butchers in the village in Ashtead that did delicious ham.  That was it, ham would be the solution.  I entered the shop and without thinking, for the first time in nearly 40 years asked for a quarter of ham, just like that little girl all those years ago.

Sarah in the butchers looked at me like I’d gone mad.  ‘A quarter of what?’ she said.  ‘A quarter of a ham, a quarter of a slice’?  Even after all this time, it felt natural to me and it took me a while for the cogs to process what the answer was.  And here we are at the point of this blog finally… when you have behaviours that are so comfortable, so familiar they remain with you for forty years for example, how do you start to question that it they might not be right?

I thought about this as I went to work.

To put it into context, earlier that morning Pete and I had discussed emotions and the relationship with food.  People in this country are almost obsessed with presenting you with food for every emotion in the available spectrum.  You’re sad?  Here’s a bit of cake to cheer you up?  It’s your birthday?  Here’s a bit of cake to cheer you up or perhaps more topically, ‘it’s your wedding day?  You’re happy, yay, here’s some cake to celebrate.

I was recounting how, the previous day, I had been offered cake twice and presented with FIVE bits cake despite declining the cake both times.  People really don’t take no for an answer!  The cake went in my bag ‘for later’ because of course, being English I did not want to offend.  Sadly, the napkin the cake was wrapped in was not very resilient,  The cake is now embedded in nearly every possession in the bag including my ipad charging port, running belt and headphone buds.   A little cake can go a long way.

Later on Friday, G sent me a TED talk entitled ‘The Magic of not giving a f@@k.  It contains some useful hints on how not to get cake embedded in every orifice of a bag in future.  If you have the same problem, you should give it a watch here.

The habit thing will need a bit more work but I am getting there.  When I knew the toast was a real danger – a reward for 18 Turkish get ups and sticking to a paleo lifestyle for at least two weeks – and I stopped myself by making a promise to Pete.  It would be better to make a promise to myself and keep it, but there you go, let’s not push our luck too early in the process.

This week was a very progressive week in many ways.  I lost another 2.5lbs to add to the three last week and after struggling to run at all lately, this week was a significant improvement as you can see below.

PT with Pete running

 

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Planning (and implementation)

paleo food

3.5lb loss; 7lb total; 7lb in 2018

It turns out, getting a ‘Congratulations you’re in!’ e-mail is a really good focuser. Especially when it’s for a race that has recently been voted the ‘toughest course in the world‘.  The weight loss this week could be attributed to the fact that, after the announcement, I’ve been sh**ting myself.

However, I must not panic.  There is a long way to go (I need to lose at least 75lb to give myself a chance) and a relatively long time (just under a year) to achieve it.  Now is not the time for rhetoric, now is the time for planning and implementation.

So, that’s exactly what I have been doing.  Planning meals, ensuring I have all paleo bases covered, avoiding gluten and sugar like the plague, I’ve eliminated nightshade foods (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc), alcohol only at weekends and gently increasing my exercise (apart from a break to see the chiropractor to realign my back after the fall a couple of weeks ago threw it out).   It’s been tough in parts but I feel so much better already.

The look on Pete’s face was worth all of the skimmed instagram cake posts (in case I get an insulin response – it won’t surprise regulars to know that Pete has a theory about this – I think he partly blames my excess fat being due to overdosing on ‘Bake Off’.

As well as planning the food, I’m also trying to make it delicious.  So today, in the coleslaw I added some red wine vinegar and fresh tarragon from the allotment.  It makes a different in flavour and I think that will be key down the line.

Pete and I always have a chat before we go out and do the ‘fitness’ part of the session.  This week he commented on how much slower my running seemed to be at the moment.  I concurred, I averaged 12.30mm pace and 1.70 miles in the 20 minute ladder last week.  In comparison with an average of 10.55 and 1.89 miles in my first session in 2013.  The weight was the same in both instances.  I confessed to being bemused by it.  This has been bugging me for ages.  I’ve blogged that my legs have felt dead and I haven’t really come up with a suitable theory as to why I’m so slow.

I had mentioned in passing to Pete that it didn’t seem to affect my cycling.  To prove a point to myself, later that day as I headed off to double spin I made a commitment to myself to welly the first session and see what happened.  With a killer play list and legs that felt really good, I managed to maintain over 90% Max HR for a good chunk of the session.  90% is 160 bpm.  I maxed out at 167 and I felt like I had more in me.

Double spin heart rate

It was a world away from the sorry effort of the morning run when 150bpm felt like someone was pulling my lungs out of my nostrils with a pair of tweezers.  It’s certainly something to work on and I will be keeping an eye on it.

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Goals – No, not the football kind!

Lana M Dot

.5lb loss; 3.5lb total; 3.5lb in 2018.

Well firstly I’m happy to report the first goal I achieved this week was managing to stay on my feet while running with Pete on Friday.  Having frightened the life out of him two weeks previously, when I got my foot stuck under a drain cover that hadn’t been closed properly and then flinging myself to the floor in a tantrum.  I honestly don’t know who was more relieved at the end.  He told me later that he had been out to buy extra big plasters, just in case.

The run itself was ok.  It just highlights how grossly unfit I am at the moment.  We followed the normal ladder plan ie start really slow and then increase the pace every two minutes until you fall off the top and have to stop.  In days gone by, I’ve managed two ten minute sessions with four increments in each ten minutes.  On Thursday I managed no more than two.

run with Pete 1 June 2018

But, I’m quite pragmatic about it and hope to see some significant improvement over the next few weeks.  I’ll keep you posted.

In other news, I mentioned last week about goals.  I fully intended to talk about the Cotswold Half Ironman or Beachy Head Marathon or getting through a whole week without craving doughnuts.  But I unexpectedly entered Ironman Lanzarote instead.  Yes, I know we’ve been here before ( I can hear you sigh!) But this time it’s different, I promise.  It was unexpected in that G offered me an ultimatum – either I entered or he would – and I know it’s going to be easier to do it myself than worry about him doing it.  And there’s now a deferral policy in place which means in all seriousness, I have potentially two years to do it in.

The success of completion is down to two things: 1) Improve my swimming so I can get out of the water around 1 hour 30 minutes and 2) lose a lot of weight… quickly!

I’ll keep you posted on that too.

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